Last week we released our Queenstown Airport draft masterplan for public consultation, closing June 23.
Queenstown Airport was established by the community for the community in 1935 in Frankton.
It is one of the most spectacular settings for an airport anywhere in the world.
As locals, we know we are home the moment we step off the plane and take a deep breath of mountain air.
Our visitors are awestruck when they first glimpse the Remarkables and Lake Whakatipu.
Almost two years into the role of CEO at Queenstown Airport, I’ve learned a great deal about what people in the region value about their airport and what they would like to see improve or change.
There is, as you’d expect, a range of views.
Most consistently, I’ve heard a desire that the airport, as an important community asset, reflects the region well, offers an excellent community and customer experience, and is proactive in its response to climate change.
This plan will enable significant changes as the focus on decarbonisation and innovative technology escalates locally and globally.
It is, therefore, important to have a masterplan for an airport that is future-ready and continues to contribute to the social and economic wellbeing of the region over the long term.
We are mindful of the importance of balancing aeronautical activity with both the capacity of regional infrastructure and preserving what makes the region a special place to live, work and visit.
Presenting our vision for the airport to the communities we serve and inviting your feedback is an important milestone.
We are planning for a modest, incremental annual increase in passenger numbers of about 3%, compounding to about 3.2 million passenger arrivals and departures in 2032.
The draft masterplan reflects our commitment to operate within the existing noise boundaries for 10 years and outlines projects to make the airport more sustainable and efficient.
It also incorporates new safety features and projects to improve the experience of both residents and visitors.
We are proposing a modest extension to the terminal to make the best use of the current footprint and greatly improve the experience for those travelling, meeting and farewelling, and working at the airport.
The journey to and from the airport will also improve.
We are prioritising active travel and public transport links.
We’re also contemplating a new green link that will connect the terminal to cycle trails and down to the proposed ferry jetty on Lake Whakatipu.
On the airfield, we are proposing to relocate general aviation activities away from the main residential area of Frankton, with helicopters consolidated north of the runway and fixed-wing aircraft in a new precinct south of the runway.
To improve the efficiency of the airfield and to reduce emissions on the ground and in the air, there is an option to construct a parallel taxiway.
This would also increase resilience and be beneficial in a Civil Defence emergency response.
Technology is advancing rapidly, and the draft masterplan has also preserved space at the airport to allow us to quickly adapt to enable sustainable aviation.
We are committed to creating a world-class airport that showcases the very best of our region and that we can all take pride in.
See queenstownairport.co.nz for more information.
Glen Sowry is Queenstown Airport’s chief executive