Queenstown Airport time line

August 14, 1935 - Frankton Aerodrome (later Queenstown Airport) is given a licence to operate by the Civil Aviation Authority. The Frankton Aerodrome Board is established.

• December, 1946 - Southern Scenic Air Services based at Frankton. Uses a grass runway and operates out of the old Frankton Jockey Club buildings.

• December, 1948 - Central Otago councils lobby Government for an air service based at Frankton to link with national air routes. There is limited opportunity because of the short runway length.

• 1958 - The Frankton Aerodrome Board is disbanded.

• May 15, 1961 - The first meeting is held to discuss the forming of a Queenstown Aerodrome Authority with the aim of upgrading and expansion.

• 1964 - The Queenstown Aerodrome Authority becomes the Queenstown Airport Authority.

• November 30, 1964 - Grass runway lengthened to 1500m. First terminal building opened. Mt Cook Company DC3 flights direct from Christchurch arrive. They can carry between 21 and 32 passengers and two crew.

• 1968 - Runway upgraded and sealed to 1341m. Area around the terminal sealed.

• October 14, 1968 - Hawker Sidley 748 aircraft start operating between Christchurch and Queenstown. They can carry between 42 and 58 passengers.

• October, 1968 - Queenstown airport gets a crash fire tender.

• 1969 - Moves begin to expand the airport terminal to respond to increased demand.

• January, 1973 - New terminal building construction finally begins. Completed in 1974, it contains cafeteria, baggage claim area, booking area and carpark.

• Mid-1980s - Newmans Air begins a short-lived service flying Dash 8 turbo-prop aircraft.

• 1989 - Ansett New Zealand starts the first jet aircraft flights (BAe 146 Whisper Jet) into Queenstown Airport.

• 1992 - Air New Zealand introduces Boeing 737-200 flights into Queenstown. The aircraft are fitted with hush kits to comply with local noise requirements.

• 1995 - The first transtasman flights begin, bringing mainly skiers. The international facilities are effective, but basic.

• 1995 to 1998 - The runway is extended and overlaid to enable fully laden jet aircraft to operate directly into Queenstown from around New Zealand and Australia.

• 1996 - New control tower constructed.

• 1998 - Plans begin to construct a new terminal building.

• 2001 - The overlay of the full 1911m of runway completed.

• July 2001 - A new $6 million terminal building is completed to cater for the rapid growth, especially in international arrivals and departures.

• 2003 - Planning begins to treble the size of the terminal building.

• 2007 - Another upgrade, costing $33 million, has the terminal expanded and partly rebuilt. The aircraft apron hard standing area is expanded to 10,000m, a new fire tender purchased and new station building constructed. The car-parking area is expanded and border and security controls upgraded. Navigation systems are also upgraded to minimise flight disruption.

• June, 2009 - Low-cost Qantas subsidiary airline Jetstar launches Queenstown services.

• September, 2009 - Low-fare airline Pacific Blue begins Queenstown flights.

• 2010 - Queenstown Airport has the fourth-largest number of international visitors, has a significant domestic visitor market and has become the fastest-growing airport in New Zealand. International passenger volumes have quadrupled since 2005 and domestic passenger volumes have increased 22%. In the 12 months ended 30 June, 2010, the airport had 811,464 passenger movements - international 107,572 and domestic 703,892.

• April, 2010 - Construction begins of the runway end safety area (resa), which is estimated to cost about $10 million. About 850,000cu m in materials is brought in for the resa - about 450,000cu m of that from Remarkables Park, with the remainder coming from the Shotover Delta and existing airport land.

• April, 2010 - Airport's runway is resealed in a $5 million project, which takes four weeks, about 28 contract staff, 20,000 litres of bitumen and 4000 litres of diesel per night, and 20,000 tonnes of asphalt.

• June, 2010 - Independent commissioners have adjourned the hearing of the Queenstown Airport Corporation's proposal to extend its noise boundaries and operating hours. The corporation wants to expand the noise boundaries and permit night flights to arrive in Queenstown between 10pm and midnight, allowing for tourism growth to 2037.

• July 8, 2010 - Auckland International Airport Ltd acquired an initial 24.99% shareholding of the increased capital in Queenstown Airport by subscribing to four million new shares at a price of $6.91 per share, for a total consideration of $27.7 million.

• July 31, 2010, to June 30, 2011 - Queenstown Airport has the option of allowing Auckland Airport to increase its shareholding to 30%-35% between those dates. The price of the additional shares will be $7.47 per share, plus a lump-sum consideration of $2.2 million, reflecting the additional value of a shareholding over 25%.

• October 2011 - The runway end safety area (resa) construction deadline, is set by the Civil Aviation Authority, to secure international flights at the airport.

• 2015 - Annual passenger movements at Queenstown Airport are expected to reach 1.25 million, a 54% increase on the 811,000 passengers in the year to June 30, 2010.

• 2037 - More than two million passengers a year are predicted to be using Queenstown Airport, more than four times the current level.

Sources: Lakes District Museum, Queenstown Airport Corporation and ODT files.


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