Posh airline passengers face a possible winter of discontent as they make do with a business lounge in a marquee at Queenstown Airport.
Air New Zealand’s Koru Lounge has been temporarily moved into a marquee in front of the arrivals hall, while upgrade work is carried out.
But the airline’s Queenstown Airport manager David Whitaker is confident passengers will not experience a drop in standards.
Whitaker says: “The marquee is fully heated and actually looks quite stunning inside, almost like an Arabian tent.
“The facilities will be exactly the same as the existing lounge.
“The reason for this temporary facility is so the airport company can extend our Koru Lounge to double its current size.
“That is due to the high demand of our high value customers.”
The marquee will remain in place for about three months – bridging the shoulder season and first month of the winter season.
Three heat pumps will run throughout the day and also the night to ensure the marquee is warm for morning passengers.
“You could say that we could have held off until after the winter,” Whitaker says.
“But this is both our quietest period and the airport’s. May and June are quiet months before the winter operation begins.
“It is all hands to the pump to try and achieve a lot before the winter operations start.
“We certainly understand the logistics of making sure people are comfortable and warm. Between the airport and Air New Zealand, we certainly believe this is the best option.
The airport is currently expanding its terminal through the $4.2million Project 2012, which also includes larger departure facilities, additional security and immigration booths, new and expanded toilet blocks and a new oversized baggage unit.
The Koru Lounge will double in size from 120sq m to 240sq m.
“If the heating fails, then we would automatically close it down and give our passengers vouchers,” Whitaker adds.
“We will have a lot of high value people coming through for TRENZ. This gives them an option to come and sit down have a cup of coffee or glass or wine. We can showcase it because it’s quite funky inside and actually looks really good.”