Royal practice run for Queenstown?


A sleek military jet yesterday became the largest plane to land at Queenstown Airport – a rumoured Royals practice run.

Royal New Zealand Air Force’s gleaming Boeing 757 touched down at 11.30am, and a source tells Mountain Scene it was a practice run for next month’s visit by British Royal couple Prince William and Kate.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s itinerary includes a Shotover Jet ride and a stop at winery restaurant Amisfield on April 13 during their nine-day NZ visit.

Airport communications boss Jen Andrews wouldn’t confirm the landing was a dry run.

“It was a proving flight to determine whether the Air Force could land a plane of that size in Queenstown,” she says.

The jet practised two aborted landings, almost touching the runway before climbing sharply away, and then landed from the Shotover River approach.

It sat on the apron for about 45 minutes before taking off.