A $4.2m Queenstown Airport terminal extension will bring passengers in from the cold this winter.
The airport is increasing its departure facilities by more than 50 per cent.
It will see a 570sq m extension to the northeast corner of the terminal, enlarging both the international and domestic departure lounges.
The expansion will also provide additional security screening lanes and immigration booths. Last winter, passengers were queuing out of the door and into the snow to use the airport.
The airport’s new chief executive Scott Paterson, who took the helm two weeks ago, announced the expansion last night to members of Queenstown Chamber of Commerce.
The contract has been awarded to construction giants Rilean Construction, with work scheduled to start before Easter.
Paterson says: “We are expecting recent growth to continue.
“The extension will provide extra capacity and improve the airport experience for departing passengers.
“The terminal was built to handle an annual passenger volume of 700,000 and we’ve been operating well above that level in recent years.
“These planned capital works are in line with our master plan and will collectively improve terminal areas suffering congestion at peak times.”
Other works include adding a 170sq m extension for a new toilet block, at the southwest end of the terminal, adjacent to the baggage reclaim area. The main toilet block in the concourse will also be extended and reconfigured.
Two new oversize baggage belts will also be installed – one in the international baggage reclaim area, the other in domestic – making handling of larger baggage, such as skis, snowboards, bikes and golf bags much easier.
“The number of passengers is expected to increase based on the 2012 record passenger numbers to date and with 33 international flights scheduled this winter, up from 29 last year,” Paterson says.
Some of the work will be completed by winter and most by mid-September.