NZSKI is ''absolutely thrilled'' all four airlines
serving Queenstown Airport have added tens of thousands of
seats from Australia to the resort for the 2014 winter ski
season. James Beech reports.
Chief executive Paul Anderson says the announcements of
increased winter seats by Qantas, Jetstar, Air New Zealand
and Virgin Australia since late January have been ''most
welcome'' for the company which operates Coronet Peak, the
Remarkables and Mt Hutt ski areas.
''In some respects, we weren't surprised that there's a big
demand for more Australians to come over, but obviously
absolutely thrilled to see the increase in capacity,'' Mr
''We're going to have a lot of overseas visitors in
Queenstown this winter.''
Mr Anderson said many Australians already had to fly to reach
a domestic ski area. The increase in services into Queenstown
made the New Zealand resort just as convenient, if not more
convenient, for an Australian family to fly to for a ski
The expansion of the ski area at the Remarkables would help
cater for the expected influx of additional tourists and
there was spare capacity at Coronet Peak, he said.
''We're more than able to cope with a lot more visitors.
We're thrilled because the more people we can get up on our
ski areas, the better our business becomes as there are more
improvements we can continue to make.
''We are going to be challenged at the Remarkables during
this coming season with all the new terrain we're opening up
and we'll still be operating out of the old base building.
Tens of thousands more Australians will have access to the
Remarkables ski area (pictured) and Coronet Peak ski area
when all four airlines boost capacity to Queenstown this
''But we have to paint a bit of a picture for the future
and make sure our guests understand that the improvements we've
put in over this summer are only the first stage of what's
coming next summer.''
The new base building, to cater for all guests, will be focus
of infrastructure development during the 2014-15 summer.
NZSki will decide this season whether the new base building
will be built where the existing base building is, or
More staff will be needed as expansion continues, such as
extra operators for new chair lifts and snow-making systems,
and extra patrollers for the expanded terrain.
NZSki is now interviewing candidates for about 1000 jobs
across all three ski areas.
A ''significant proportion'' of jobs would go to New
Zealanders, Mr Anderson said.
More than half the staff from last year would return for the
new season, consistent with previous years.
About 700 trained positions in total needed filling at
Coronet Peak and the Remarkables.
Infrastructure development at the Remarkables continued.
Sealing of the access road was to begin in the next few weeks
with one crew starting from the bottom of the road, another
crew from the 4km mark and meeting half way.
All foundations bar one for the new chair lift towers were
poured by last week and the towers were expected to be lifted
into position in the next two weeks.
''It's a lot of hard work and there's up to 100 committed
people up there,'' Mr Anderson said.
''People doing snow-making, earthmoving, lift contractors,
electrical contractors, a whole range of things.
''There's some big hours being worked to keep on top of the
programme because, of course, we don't have any choice but to
be finished on time, so that's what we'll do.''
• Qantas schedules two extra Sydney to Queenstown services
per week over Easter from April 7 and daily flights from July
4 until October 24.
• Qantas subsidiary Jetstar adds 44 extra return services
from Australia (26 from Melbourne, 18 from Sydney) to
Queenstown from July 1 to August 31.
• Alliance partners Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia
operate up to five extra services a week between Brisbane,
Sydney, Melbourne and Queenstown from July to September.
• Coronet Peak opens June 7, Remarkables opens June 21.