Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd (left),
with Deputy Prime Minister and Clutha-Southland MP Bill
English and Queenstown Airport Corporation chief executive
Scott Paterson at the official opening of the new departure
facilities at Queenstown Airport yesterday. Photo by Tracey
Queenstown Airport Corporation's $4.3 million extension
to its departure facilities was a show of confidence in the
tourism market at a time when many believed the industry was
"on its knees", Deputy Prime Minister and Clutha-Southland MP
Bill English said yesterday.
At the official opening of the facility, which doubles the
size of the international and domestic departure areas, Mr
English told about 75 invited guests the continued growth at
the airport "demonstrates an optimism and a confidence about
the [tourism] industry which, in theory, is under a bit of
"There have been discussions about the exchange rate - we all
know how sensitive the tourism industry is to the exchange
"Some of the [industry] are under a lot of pressure.
"Queenstown Airport has had a record year.
"This is a company that's continued to show confidence in the
The 570sq m expansion at the northeast end of the existing
terminal allowed for extra security screening lanes and
immigration booths as well as redevelopment of Air New
Zealand's Koru Lounge at the mezzanine level.
The expansion also has provision for duty-free retail to
double in size and store operator LS Travel Retail has
flagged substantial plans for redevelopment and refurbishment
by next winter.
Queenstown Airport chief executive Scott Paterson paid
tribute to the project manager, architect and lead building
"Built in a very tight timeframe and in difficult weather
conditions, the build is a testament to a great group of
people working together and we at the airport applaud and
thank all involved for their effort and diligence."
Mr Paterson said the original terminal had catered for
700,000 passengers, but during the past financial year more
than one million passengers passed through the facility,
which underlined the need to expand and provide visitors with
an improved experience.
"Our airport clocked some record days during the winter with
a dramatic 29% increase in flights over the same period last
"During August, we processed 122,998 passengers and the new
international departures lounge was opened to coincide with
the peak numbers.
"On just one day, passengers from six jets used the lounge
over a two-hour period.
"Our busiest week saw 43 transtasman flights."
Growth was predicted to continue this summer with a 17%
increase in inbound flights this January compared with
January 2012, Mr Paterson said.
"The summer airline schedules predict even greater passenger
numbers and the new facilities will undoubtedly come into
This week, Jetstar announced it was adding weekly
Queenstown-Sydney and Queenstown-Melbourne services. Air New
Zealand recently announced it had increased
Auckland-Queenstown services by 32%.
Virgin Australia had added 11,000 seats to and from