All systems are go at the airport

Queenstown Airport. Supplied photo.
Queenstown Airport. Supplied photo.

Steve Sanderson
Steve Sanderson
There is never a dull moment at Queenstown Airport, as chief executive Steve Sanderson explains in this week's Wakatipu Echo - with an incredible amount achieved in the past 12 months and even more to do in the next.

Busy, busy, busy, sums up life at Queenstown Airport these days. Apart from the day-to-day terminal operations, regulatory checks, border control and security requirements, there are myriad other tasks to keep an average 3000 travellers a day all heading in the right direction.

Not to mention the constant refurbishment and construction of facilities driven by ever increasing passenger numbers.

When you wonder if you can ever get ahead of the constant increase in traffic, or if caution is required in case of a downturn, be comforted by the fact that in 18 years, no year has ever been less than the previous.

Just look at what is just completed, under way, or on the horizon:

• Runway end safety area (Resa) projects;
• Noise boundary work;
• The nationally significant land acquisition Notice of Requirement;
• Securing new airlines;
• Securing a new aviation fuel facility;
• Common Departure Terminal.

The runway end safety zones at the end of each runway are all but completed ahead of the regulatory deadline.

Noise boundaries will be in place to protect our airport's ability to cater for future growth. In air traffic, the welcome introduction of Jetstar and Pacific Blue has been achieved and is stimulating traffic to Queenstown.

Queenstown Airport's Notice of Requirement for a portion of land on its southeast boundary has been recognised as a project of national significance.

The land will release constraints on airport development and, in addition to terminal expansion, will allow important local businesses to grow safely and efficiently.

Recently, a new aviation fuel facility has been confirmed for the airport, backed by long-term lease arrangements. The facility will be in a future-proof location and will resolve the long-standing uncertainty surrounding the supply of jet fuel.

The recently completed baggage make-up area has taken the uncertainty out of a bag not ending up in the same place as the traveller.

Runway lighting is currently being installed, and this has the potential to allow airlines to operate within the full extent of Queenstown Airport's consented operating hours (6am to 10pm), compared to the current situation, where flights must occur in daylight.

Longer actual operating hours will allow for a better daily distribution of arrivals and departures and should slow the growth of afternoon peak-hour demand on the terminal.

All of this is driven by more aircraft, and these planes need somewhere to park. So a new apron will add new stands.

There are also plans for the old grass runway to be resealed ... not bad, considering it was first approved for take-off on August 14, 1935.

Yes, Queenstown Airport is busy, and gearing up for business.


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