Million-dollar upgrade of the international arrivals lounge
at Queenstown Airport is on the cards to cater for growing
passenger numbers, which in February increased by almost 40%.
Figures released by Auckland International Airport, which has
a 24.99% shareholding in Queenstown Airport, showed passenger
numbers for February increased to 21,980, up from 15,716 in
International aircraft movements increased by 30.5% during
the same period, from 118 to 154.
AIAL also has a shareholding in Cairns and Mackay Airports,
which both showed a decrease in international passengers
during the same period.
Auckland airport had a 6.9% increase in international
passengers, up to 340,264 from 318,360.
Queenstown Airport Corporation chief executive Scott Paterson
said the increase at the resort was solely attributed to
direct flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
It was that growth which was driving the international
arrivals hall upgrade, expected to begin in September.
The $4.3 million upgrade of the airport's departure
facilities - which doubled the size of the international and
domestic departure areas, allowing for extra security
screening lanes and immigration booths as well as a
redevelopment of Air New Zealand's Koru Lounge at the
mezzanine level - was officially opened in September 2012.
Mr Paterson said a temporary arrivals hall would be
established for this winter, likely to cost about $500,000.
However, the permanent solution was still in the design
''We're getting feedback coming in from airlines and other
agencies as to what their requirements are. It will allow
more planes to come in and enable passengers to [disembark]
''The message from the airlines is that we are on the right
path as far as our development is concerned. Their preference
is to do it incrementally, rather than a big-bang
''There has been a lot of growth and we look forward to
Capital investment had been aided by the strategic alliance
with AIAL, announced in 2010, after QAC created a new 24.99%
shareholding, selling it to AIAL for $27.7 million.
Mr Paterson said the alliance had enabled QAC to pay down
debt, allowing it to re-borrow to fund further investment.
The airport was nearing capacity in terms of international
flights during peak periods, limited in part by the number of
stands available and pressure on parts of the airport during
''You fix one capacity issue and another one pops up.
''That's why we're very keen to get the additional land from
In the Environment Court in Queenstown last week, Judge Jane
Borthwick heard arguments over the future use of 19ha of
greenfield land called ''Lot 6''.
Owner Remarkables Parks wants to keep Lot 6 and claims it was
given assurances it could use it as a buffer zone between
aircraft noise and its commercial and residential
However, the airport corporation denied deals were struck and
maintained Lot 6 was the only suitable alternative for a
larger park for light aircraft, helicopters and the growing
corporate jet market.
The aviators who would use the park preferred it over
proposed land to the north of the runway.
The statutory responsibilities of the corporation and court
superseded earlier agreements, airport counsel said.
To cater for the increased demand, the airport corporation
could increase the number of stands at the airport.
It was also investigating its ability to land flights after
5pm in the winter months.
The airport's resource consent enabled it to operate until
10pm, Mr Paterson said. But it still required approval from
both the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Civil
Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
''We're trying to do a two- to three-step process.
''We're trying to get from CAA and CASA, is it possible and
can it be done safely?.
''We [also] want to understand what infrastructure is
required at the airport - we believe it's totally [possible],
but it might be hideously expensive.''
Sky's the limit
Queenstown Airport Passenger Statistics - February 2014
• Total international passengers up 39.9% on February 2013,
from 15,716 to 21,980.
• Total domestic passengers up 3.8%, from 84,643 to 87,885
• International aircraft movements, 154 compared with 118 in
February 2013, 30.5% increase
• Domestic aircraft movements, down from 766 to 740, drop of
3.4%, largely due to withdrawal of Jetstar's