Call to abandon Queenstown Airport

Photo: Mountain Scene
Photo: Mountain Scene
Councillors have been urged to abandon Queenstown Airport in light of plans for a new build at Tarras.

Christchurch Airport yesterday confirmed it had bought 750 hectares at the Central Otago village with the aim of creating a new international base.

During a Queenstown Lakes District Council meeting today at Gorge Road, members of the public urged councillors to pull out of council-owned Queenstown Airport Corporation and close the airport.

They argued the proposed Tarras airport was within an hour's reach and would not attract the same opposition from locals as Queenstown and Wanaka airports do.

Cath Gilmour, of We Love Wakatipu, said Air New Zealand representatives had on several occasions indicated a preference for flying into a Central Otago airport, and community groups had long argued for a "relocated airport".

"Unfortunately, by Christchurch Airport stealing this strategic march...our community loses the economic benefits and opportunity to control the triggers of growth we could have had from this new airport."

She argued in light of Covid-19, the Tarras airport would qualify for an expedited planning system and said "you shouldn't presume the new airport's planning process will take a long time".

Ms Gilmour said the council must now question the long-term viability of using the "valuable Frankton Flats land" for an airport.


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