Boult rules out overseas flights

Jim Boult
Jim Boult
International flights will not be part of Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult's agenda for Wanaka Airport if he is re-elected.

Mr Boult gave that assurance earlier this week in an email to the Otago Daily Times.

"I do not support international flights to or from Wanaka.

"I have also made my views abundantly clear to QAC [the Queenstown Airport Corporation]."

In May, the ODT was told by a QAC spokeswoman that while flights would be domestic to begin with, international flights were "on the table".

"We will, over time, based on the organic demand from Wanaka and to Wanaka, look at transtasman services and that likely will start with, like it did in Queenstown, charter ski services to Australia maybe," the spokeswoman said.

In a recent Facebook post, Mr Boult said the spokeswoman's comments "were not, and are not, supported by myself or QLDC, and QAC has assured me that this is not the case".

"There will be no international flights into and out of Wanaka."

In a different post, Mr Boult said he was concerned about "the continuing misconceptions" around Wanaka Airport.

"There are already three international airports in the South Island.

"A fourth is not required."

Mr Boult said the "only development" at Wanaka Airport that had been discussed was the reintroduction of domestic flights, using Airbus 320s or Boeing 737s, on the Wanaka-Auckland route.

"Yes, these aircraft are also used for transtasman flights but, I repeat, there is no intention to provide transtasman services from Wanaka."

Mayoral candidate Nik Kiddle said his position was that the community should have the final say on what use was made of Wanaka Airport and he had not heard of anybody calling for international flights.

He could imagine the QAC wanting to have Wanaka Airport available as a "backstop" for occasions when international flights were unable to land at Queenstown Airport.

"But this is something we would want to delve into in some detail in a proper discussion with the QAC."

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