Flight hike

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Large airlines will pay more to fly the skies of Queenstown from March.

Airways Corporation has announced a 34 per cent hike in “approach service charges” at Queenstown Airport to pay off a $3 million state-of-the-art radar surveillance network installed this year at 17 sites around the Wakatipu, Airways commercial boss Bert Prvanov says.

The technology makes aircraft more visible on air traffic controllers’ computer screens over greater distances.

Only planes coming in on “instrument flight rules” pay more, Prvanov says – that’s mostly major airlines, together with the largest Milford Sound aircraft.

The International Air Transport Association was comfortable with the hike, he says, adding it was the large airlines which asked for the new technology in the first place so they’re “comfortable” about the increase.