Airport forgives the runway-prank pilots


Trespass notices have been lifted on two joyriding prankster pilots who drove their car along the Queenstown Airport runway late at night. 

The pair – understood to be Milford Sound Flights pilots Andrew Pye and Stefan Burrell – were banned for two years for breaching airport security and endangering lives. 

Both had to resign their jobs following the April 9 incident. 

Airport boss Steve Sanderson confirms he revoked their trespass notices – in place for three months – after re-interviewing them last Thursday. 

“I believe they were remorseful enough and sincerely sorry ,” he says. 

“I think they’d suffered enough as well. They’d both put their careers on hold and both lost their jobs,” Sanderson says. 

“I think three months is severe enough and the message certainly hit hard.” 

Sanderson doesn’t regret trespassing them. 

“We’re an international airport, 45 flights a day. 

“When an A320 is at the end of the runway, you don’t want to be sitting in your seat wondering if there’s a wing-mirror on the runway.” 

Mountain Scene was unable to contact either Pye or Burrell yesterday. 

Sanderson: “My understanding is one of them will be working towards flying again, I don’t know about the other one.” 

Mark Quickfall, their former boss at Milford Sound Flights, last month told Mountain Scene they were “a couple of valuable, good professional pilots”. 

“We’re pleased to see that they can now move forward with their aviation careers,” he said yesterday.
He doesn’t know if they’ll reapply for their jobs.