Call to relocate airport

Close Queenstown Airport, leave Wanaka Airport alone and build a new international airport to serve Central Otago and the Lakes District somewhere else.

That was an idea floated by Air New Zealand last year and now to be put to a public meeting in Frankton on April 29.

A member of the group behind the meeting, Kelvin Peninsula Community Association chairman David Mayhew, described the idea yesterday as ''blue sky thinking''.

While a site for a new airport had not been determined, Mr Mayhew mentioned Tarras.

''There's quite a lot of good land around there that could be utilised for a big airport, as I understand it, around Maori Point.

''But that wouldn't be the only possibility, I guess.

''We haven't focused too much on that.

''But there is better land than the current airport.''

Mr Mayhew said when considering the growth of the region, it was ''inevitable'' Queenstown Airport was in the wrong place.

''Why spend more money on that location now, and why spend more money on upscaling Wanaka Airport, if down the line you are going to have to move anyway.''

Mr Mayhew said the genesis of the idea was the Frankton masterplanning process which ''ran up quite quickly against what we refer to as the 'elephant in the room' which is the airport''.

Urban designers Gillian Macleod and David Jerram will present a plan to the meeting showing how the Queenstown Airport land might be used, if the airport was removed.

Asked about who would lead the new airport proposal, Mr Mayhew said the community ''has to drive the thinking''.

''Because at the moment, all the authorities are stuck in their particular silos.

''If the community thinks this is a good idea, then it might persuade the local politicians and indeed the national politicians to think about it.''

Last year, an Air New Zealand spokeswoman suggested a new airport needed to be considered as a better option than the Queenstown Airport Corporation's ''dual airport'' plan to expand Queenstown and Wanaka Airports.

And, Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said it was time to have ''a bigger, bolder, braver conversation about creating a new Central Otago airport''.

Luggate Community Association chairman Graeme Perkins said yesterday it was ''great to see some serious thinking outside the square''.

''Naturally Luggate would be relieved if Wanaka Airport was taken off the list of possibilities, and a whole new re-think along the lines of Mr Mayhew's proposal were initiated.''

Wanaka Stakeholders Group convener Michael Ross said the group's proposal was ''bigger than Texas'' but deserved debate.

''If it were able to be pulled off, it would be of huge benefit to the whole environment in Queenstown as well as to Wanaka.''

However, Mr Ross said his group was not ''getting into'' that debate, and was more focused on determining tourism limits for the region.


Firstly, airports generate their own infrastructure - or quite simply they are more than runways & terminals. They become mini cities with car parking/ rental vehicles/ storage/ retail/ etc etc. So they require lots of land, congestion and noise.
Queenstown airport cannot continue and in fact should never have got to where it is. How they are allowed the A320 aircraft in to there I will never know - and at night!
Wanaka will be destroyed if that is done up for jets.
There is only one jet safe enough to land in Queenstown and that is the A220-100 which can land on a 1,400m length fully loaded but only carries 115 passengers.
So where else in Central?? I have scoured Google Earth, have flown around the area with a pilot mate and done phantom approaches. We can find no where. So we come to Lumsden. Why not save $$ and go to an existing place with a long runway with all the infrastructure already in place - Invercargill. Bus them up (or propeller plane) from there. They usually go to Milford anyway.
No brainer.

Why not Dunedin 'International' Airport? Or is the Council not interested?

SH_888 = Firstly I am not from Invers or have loyalties. I spend much time in Dunedin and love the city.
The fact that airlines (including AirNZ) have pulled out of international flights from DUD should tell you something. DUD now only gets one Virgin flight from Brisbane at midnight, returning next morn. How long will that last?
There would be an extra 300kms to add to a flight from Sydney to DUD compared to ZQN, whilst IVC is the same distance, there is a quicker direct approach, so less fuel burn.
BTW flying time from AKL to DUD & IVC is the same! The DUD approach causes the delay. There are massive wind problems coming off the Maungatuas into Momona that many passengers & pilots don't like. Yes ZQN is worse. But IVC has clear skies (that is no mountains requiring faster & costlier climb outs) on takeoff & approach.
IVC has a longer runway that could take planes larger than the A320.
For DUD to achieve that, it would need much work and require full RESAs included.
But the main issues (pax wise) is driving time to Queenstown from DUD is an hour longer than IVC and the road from Momona is far worse.
So given the choice, there is no comparison.

20 years ago a comprehensive study was under taken by the QLDC for a new airport location one of the site looked at was the top of Queenstown hill which is a very large flat top hill under the snow line
This would still be the best site for a new airport for a number of reasons.
1. it is very close to down town Queenstown with a gondola access it's only minutes away
2. It would be large enough to build a 10000ft runway which could take any size aircraft safely
3. The land at present farm land own by a person who maybe open to this sort of development.
4. Because of it's height it would offer a safe approach and also a safe take off with out causing a disturbance to the locals
5. There is a very large area for expanding future development of the airport
6. This could go some way to easing the traffic on the Frankton Road by removing the some of the airport traffic
7. It is under the snow line so the snow would not much more of a problem than it is at the present airport.
The present airport has a black star rating and soon or later this will cause a major accident so the time for procrastination is over!!!!!!!!!!!!

qtflyer =
1. Yes but how would fire engines, fuel tankers etc get up there?
2. Theres room for UP to 3kms long yes BUT take away the required RESA and yes you will get 2kms. However there would be billions of $ in preparation. It would be hard to level practically as its rock and the logistics of getting heavy machinery up there!
3. Correct, the Middletons.
4. Despite its height, it is an awkward flight path actually not aeronautically feasible and if an emergency arose then disaster on the town. Another disturbance to the locals would in fact be excessive noise – thrust right above the town.
5. Sadly no. The hill is an uneven triangular rock.
6. Afraid not.
7. It may be under the snow line but with the wind up there it would cause massive icing problems and the higher altitude would require aircraft with light loads requiring a very high performance.
Your comment about the black star rating was polite.
However I leave the best till last . . . Queenstown Hill is also known as Te Tapu Nui, or "very sacred", and is a significant place for Maori.