New cafe forecast for Queenstown Airport

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TV One weatherman and pilot Jim Hickey and a business partner have won the tender to operate Queenstown Airport’s new cafe/bar.

Hickey and Craig Macfarlane, owners of the award-winning Airspresso cafe at New Plymouth Airport, will open Airspresso Queenstown by the domestic arrivals entrance in July.

The new layout, comprising an open kitchen, seating for 115 people, full bar and lounge area, will be fitted out after the existing cafe closes at the end of April.

Hickey says his and Macfarlane’s combination in New Plymouth of creative quality fare, superb espresso coffee and aviation memorabilia is a winning formula.

“Queenstown is a world leader in adventure and flightseeing so we’re keen to explore ways of showcasing local aviation pioneers in the fit-out design.

Hickey and Macfarlane are also partners in downtown Queenstown’s Joe’s Garage cafe.

Their business partners Karyn Grant, Justin Bird and Birthe Svendheim will run the airport cafe’s day-to-day operations.

Queenstown Airport Corporation boss Scott Paterson believes the Airspresso Queenstown concept will be a recipe for success.

“Jim brings a strong passion and understanding of Queenstown and the aviation sector to the table while Craig is a go-getter with a proven track record of success here in New Zealand and London.”

Existing cafe operator Good Group chose not to put a tender in.

Good Group boss Russell Gray was unhappy with his dealings with QAC, which had also made his company remove its swanky Bing Bong bar in October.

“All we’ve seemed to get in a long drawn-out process was mixed messages, hollow promises and shifting goalposts.”

Paterson replied: “Look, we started conversations with Good Group some time back – and then we went to market.

“So read into that what you will.”