If Five Mile didn’t fly, the Overseas Investment Office was told, Queenstown Airport Corporation would instead pursue “alternative growth and development opportunities” with the $27 million from its share sale to Auckland.
Among documents released by the OIO, a Queenstown Airport “masterplan” – replicated by this Mountain Scene map (above) – shows two large chunks of existing airport land earmarked for commercial development.
The larger area north of the runway near Frankton Industrial Estate is slated for a “general use Aviation/Industrial Park”.
The masterplan also mentions “commercial expansion along [the] Western Access Road”.
This is a roadside strip of about 600m on Lucas Place from opposite Lakes District Hospital to Remarkables Park – presently housing a collection of older buildings – plus a large block of vacant land on Robertson Street.
While there’s no indication of when either block may be developed, a glance at QAC’s latest financials show commercial leasing is big business.
With landing charges and departure tax raking in 53 per cent of QAC’s $13.3m operating revenue, commercial lease income of $3.9m and carparking charges of $1.2m made up most of the rest.
Growing airports spawn commercial buildings that house aviation-associated firms such as courier companies and aircraft-maintenance workshops – while industrial companies which make a bit of noise are also compatible airport neighbours.