‘Ground-breaking’ asphalt used for resealing project

Mobile asphalt plant med

Queenstown Airport is turning trash to treasure for its latest resurfacing project by using a new lower carbon asphalt, which incorporates waste printer toner and recycled glass, to resurface its aircraft parking area beside the terminal building. 

Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) chose to partner with infrastructure and facilities company Downer on the $7 million project because of its expertise, innovation and collaboration with other Kiwi organisations to pioneer this new form of asphalt which provides a robust, durable surface in all weathers.

The project will commence on 11 November and is expected to be completed by 16 December in time for Christmas and the peak summer season.

QAC’s General Manager of Operations and Safety, Mike Clay, says that the resealing of the aircraft parking area occurs once every 10 years on average but this time it will be a ‘step-change’ for the airport in terms of infrastructure and operational resilience.

“We’re really excited about tackling this long-cycle project in a different way.  We’ve tried to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of it, from the recycled material used in the mix to reducing emissions from haulage.

“At the same time, we’re looking at ways to support the airlines and ground handlers to collectively minimise our carbon and environmental footprint.  In particular, we’re keen to help facilitate their transition from fossil fuel-based diesel to electric ground service equipment in order to reduce carbon emissions.  As part of this project, more space will be provided to cater for the expansion of the electric ground service fleets and ducting will be installed in the airfield parking area to provide access to electric power.  This will provide immediate benefits in terms of powering the electric ground service fleets.  It will also future-proof for the possibility of airlines powering their aircraft with electricity whilst parked at the gate rather than fossil fuel, which would improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.”

Mr Clay says the airport is keen to get its visitors, local community and airlines involved in donating their beer bottles and toner cartridges to help with the ‘Reduce, Recycle and Reseal’ campaign.

A Trash to Treasure stand, complete with a beer bottle recycling machine, information and videos, will be set up inside the terminal building during the works to give people the opportunity to donate their bottles and learn more about how the process.

Downer General Manager of Surfacing Operations, George Leidig, says “We are exploring ways to minimise waste by re-using or re-purposing recycled materials into new products.”

“The pavement solution we are using at Queenstown Airport TonerPave, has been developed in partnership with Close the Loop. The mix uses Modified Toner Polymer made from recycled toner cartridges and will also include recycled glass sand. We recognise that sustainability is a journey and we hope that by using recycled materials in this project, we can deliver an innovative solution while helping to protect New Zealand’s finite natural resources.”

The job site and a mobile asphalt mixing plant will be located at the north-eastern end of the runway near Glenda Dr, away from nearby homes. The mobile asphalt plant being used by Downer is the most efficient and modern asphalt plant in New Zealand.  An onsite asphalt plant will reduce road haulage by 720,000km over the course of the project which will help to keep local roads clearer and safer as well as reducing emissions.

The resurfacing will take place between 6pm and 6am six days a week, starting at the Remarkables Park side of the terminal and finishing at the lake end.  Downer will complete the project as quickly and efficiently as possible, and excessive noise or vibration from the works is not expected.

Queenstown Airport will keep its neighbours informed directly and will also publish project updates on its Facebook page.  A 24/7 hotline (021 863 682) has been set up for the project in case residents need to get in touch with the airport with any queries or concerns.

The airfield works are contained entirely within the Queenstown Airport Aerodrome Designation in the Queenstown Lakes District Plan where these types of activities are anticipated.