No room for private jets at Queenstown

Controversial US cyclist Lance Armstrong is reported to have arrived at Queenstown Airport last summer in this private jet. If he flies over this summer, he could have trouble finding a park for the plane.
Controversial US cyclist Lance Armstrong is reported to have arrived at Queenstown Airport last summer in this private jet. If he flies over this summer, he could have trouble finding a park for the plane.
Queenstown Airport may have ''no vacancy'' signs out for private jets this summer, because of limited parking space.

Airport chief executive Scott Paterson spoke at Destination Queenstown's final quarterly update for 2012 and revealed the prospect of not having parking space for private jets worried him.

''We can land them but we can't park them.''

Mr Paterson said demand had increased and this could be the first time there had been no space to park private jets at the airport.

Asked if the jets could land and park at Wanaka Airport, he said the area lacked the necessary security.

Plans were afoot to extend the jet-parking area in Queenstown by moving them to the south side of the runway, but this process was going through the Environment Court. The land required was owned by Remarkables Park Ltd.

Mr Paterson said unless the owners of the land and the airport could agree upon a settlement, the court process must be followed.

Mr Paterson said ''we are very confident 2013 will be bigger than 2012'' and believed Queenstown Airport was benefiting at the expense of Christchurch.

This summer will be Mr Paterson's first in Queenstown, having taken up the chief executive's position in March.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council's chief executive, Adam Feeley, and Lakes Leisure's equivalent, Ruth Stokes, also gave updates.

Ms Stokes started five weeks ago and Mr Feeley six weeks ago.

Mr Feeley said he has realised the ''huge cost'' of running local government and firmly stated ''QLDC as an organisation'' needed to ''go back to the basics''.

''We have got to be cost efficient. People have got to know what we are spending money on.''

The two big contentious issues, he said, were to what extent the council should become involved with economic issues, and a proposed convention centre for the resort.

Earlier this week the council confirmed it had received several proposals for a centre, following a request for proposals in September.

The evaluation process would be completed as quickly as possible, with the intention of informing the public of the outcome in the new year.

Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd capped off the event with a presentation about the marketing work being done both internationally and domestically to draw visitors to the resort, and his recent visit to China.