Push for progress at Queenstown Airport

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The boss of Queenstown Airport is keen to progress plans for a separate corporate jet terminal at the Frankton site. 

Queenstown Airport chief executive Scott Paterson admitted last month he’d have to put up the ‘No Vacancy’ sign to some corporate jets during Christmas and New Year as expected bookings would outstrip available parking space. 

The overload didn’t eventuate as one of the jet operators changed schedule, but expansion of parking for private planes is still a priority. 

“Any constraint at this airport is a concern if it turns people off because it’s very discretionary, people coming to this place. 

“Albeit that it’s fantastically wonderful but people aren’t coming here for business. They are coming here as a destination and so we compete with other destinations throughout the country and the South Pacific,” he says. 

Paterson says the airport has a vision in place for what’s called a Fixed-Base Operation (FBO), which is a separate parking, check-in and lounge area for private jets and passengers. 

“Basically we’re looking to develop a corporate jet precinct with its own – for want of a better word – terminal. 

“Places like Auckland and elsewhere around the world, they service corporate jets with their own terminal where Customs staff go when the corporate jet arrives, rather than having to go through the big terminal here. 

They have lounge areas for people to wait while they go through paper work. 

“It’s our goal and there’s demand there for it from operators,” Paterson says. 

“The corporate jet market is important to Queenstown Airport and our community. We want to develop an FBO to better service these visitors.” 

As it is, the airport can handle five to seven private jets at once, depending on the jet size. 

Paterson says the airport is going through a process to acquire land south of the runway to accommodate the space for such a terminal, a project deemed to be of national significance by the Government. 

“That does not mean we can short cut due process and a protracted court battle with the land owner, Remarkables Park Limited, seems inevitable,” Paterson adds.