The first winter flights start June 15, five days before Queenstown Winter Festival kicks off.
Trans-Tasman schedule increases include:
Qantas upping Sydney flights from three a week to daily from July 4 to October 30 and operating a Saturday Brisbane flight from June 28 to September 27
Jetstar adding 15,000 more seats in July and August – from four times a week to daily from Melbourne and three times to five times a week from Sydney
Alliance partners Air NZ and Virgin Australia adding 40,000 seats to and from Queenstown between July and September with five more services per week from Australia
Other new airport facilities in place for winter will include a mini-terminal for private jet passengers by the end of April, a new airline lounge by July, and expanded food and beverage offerings – Patagonia cafe opened in March and Airspresso cafe bar opens in July.
Queenstown Airport will host a record 50 flights a week on average from Australia this winter.
The extra flights – up 10 a week from last winter – result from all four airlines Qantas, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia and Jetstar increasing their schedules.
Airport corporation boss Scott Paterson says he’s absolutely delighted with the airlines’ strong support.
Air NZ is also increasing its domestic capacity by 11 per cent from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch by upgrading to larger A320 planes on several Queenstown services.
To cope with visitor surges, Queenstown Airport plans to erect a $450,000 temporary pop-up tent to handle the extra arrivals during July and August.
The tent will house a second international baggage reclaim belt.
“We’re planning to have some fun with the theming of it to create a great first impression and make it a talking point for arriving international visitors,” Paterson says.
The tent is an interim solution before the airport corporation begins the next stage of its terminal expansion in September.
Paterson says “pop-ups” are commonly used at airports around the world to provide extra temporary capacity when needed.
“Our peak for international arrivals is between noon and 3pm each day so we need to be able to process these passengers as swiftly as possible to avoid delays. The tent structure will house a second international baggage reclaim belt and help alleviate pressure on infrastructure during these peaks.”