Corporate jet services get off to a flying start

Queenstown Airport Corporation chief executive Scott Paterson (left) with Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd, Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden, Air Center One chief executive Rob Leach and Clutha-Southland MP and deputy prime minister Bill English at the official 
opening of Queenstown's Corporate Jet Services terminal last night. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh
Queenstown Airport Corporation chief executive Scott Paterson (left) with Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd, Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden, Air Center One chief executive Rob Leach and Clutha-Southland MP and deputy prime minister Bill English at the official opening of Queenstown's Corporate Jet Services terminal last night. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh

VBore Queenstown's $200,000 Corporate Jet Services terminal was even officially opened by Clutha-Southland MP and deputy prime minister Bill English last night, a larger, more permanent structure was already being discussed.

The fixed-based operation on leased land was announced by Queenstown Airport Corporation in November and had been developed by Auckland corporate jet handling company Air Center One and Capital Jet Services, of Wellington.

The small building caters for up to eight passengers along with crew and was designed to make their transition through Customs and Immigration as efficient as possible.

It is intended as a stopgap facility for the next three years, pending the resolution of land acquisition plans by QAC, with a larger, multimillion-dollar, purpose-built operation proposed for land known as Lot 6, presently owned by Remarkables Park Ltd.

Air Center One chief executive Rob Leach told invited guests last night 34 corporate jets had arrived in New Zealand so far this year, 24 of those landing in Queenstown.

At a conference in Florida earlier this year Mr Leach addressed 675 corporate jet owners: ''every one is looking to come to New Zealand at some stage''.

''They know there are services here for them, [it's] a safe country, [with] a stable government and a diverse and interesting environment.''

Mr Leach said he was looking forward to the resolution of ''the land issues'' so progress could be made on the permanent facility. Queenstown Airport chief executive Scott Paterson said the terminal was ''long overdue'' for the airport and Queenstown.

''We have big plans for the corporate jet market.

''[That market] is important to Queenstown and it clearly is important to New Zealand.

''I know we can do a lot with the corporate jet market in Queenstown ... up until now we've been a bit shy to promote it because we haven't had the facilities.''

Earlier this week the airport announced the aviation authorities had approved the foundation safety case for after-dark flights into Queenstown.tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz