Queenstown Airport Corporation chief executive Scott Paterson has died following a short battle with cancer. He was 54.
Shocked airport board chairman John Gilks said Paterson did an excellent job coping with a rapid increase in flights and passengers at the airport.
Under his watch, the airport got Civil Aviation Authority approval for night flights and he led several pricey projects, including the recent international terminal redevelopment.
Gilks said Paterson never let him down.
”Scott has been a very good chief executive and he’s also become a good friend.”
Destination Queenstown boss Graham Budd said Paterson understood Queenstown Airport’s crucial role.
The year he arrived, Budd had the “dubious pleasure” of participating alongside him in the Queenstown Winter Festival Drag Race.
“I learnt that he was competitive. I took an elbow in the face at the start line and watched him charge off into the distance … he’s been back each year since.”
Mayor Vanessa van Uden said: ”Scott was a huge asset to Queenstown Airport and the community as a whole.”
Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ann Lockhart: ”His strong leadership over the past few years has overseen the exponential growth of the airport.”
Originally from Auckland, Mr Paterson qualified as a lawyer and accountant and gained extensive infrastructure and commercial experience at companies including Ports of Portland, Ports of Auckland, Winston Aggregates, Fletcher Building and Ernst & Young before moving to Queenstown.
Mr Paterson also sat on several boards and was a director of the Fifa Under 20 World Cup in New Zealand.
He is survived by his wife and three children.