Celebrating our two millionth passenger
20 Dec 2017
Picture: Queenstown Airport Chair Prue Flacks, Mayor Jim Boult, Brooke, Tony, Renee and Ward Brunton, with Queenstown Airport Chief Executive Colin Keel
A Hamilton family of four travelling on NZ613 from Auckland to Queenstown made history today when they became Queenstown Airport’s two millionth passengers in a year.
More than 50 years in the making, this marked a major milestone for scheduled commercial flights and reflects sustained growth and development for the region’s aviation gateway.
When the Air New Zealand flight touched down at 10:13am, the sounds of celebration filled the terminal as the airport community formed a guard of honour to welcome the Brunton family, complete with balloons, party horns, streamers, music and a giant cake. Even unsuspecting passengers and meeters and greeters in the terminal got in on the action, clapping and cheering as the family walked into the terminal building.
Mayor Jim Boult, Queenstown Airport Chief Executive Colin Keel and Airport Chair Prue Flacks officially welcomed Renee, her husband Tony and children Brooke (6) and Ward (3), and presented them with a gift on behalf of the airport. It included a $500 gift card to spend on iconic experiences around the region and a Highlands Motorsport Park package including VIP lounge access, a Porsche fast lap and go kart rides.
Colin Keel said the family’s arrival was a significant occasion for the airport community and all of the communities served by the airport.
“Achieving two million passengers in a year is a major milestone. For us though it’s not just about the number, it’s about what it represents.
“The airport has been part of the fabric of Queenstown and the broader region since 1935 and has evolved from an airstrip to an international airport during that time.
“The natural beauty of our alpine environment combined with the innovation and hard work of our business community in creating world-class experiences has made the region a destination of choice, supported by airlines increasing air capacity and connectivity over the years. This has brought both social and economic opportunities and benefits to the community with more jobs and more flexible, affordable travel.
“While the airport has grown exponentially over the years to facilitate the increased popularity of the region, people are its heart. The airport community is a strong network of over 700 people across more than 60 businesses who work together day in and day out with one goal in mind – to give a warm welcome to our customers and ensure they have a safe and memorable experience every time they visit.
“To that end, on behalf of Queenstown Airport, I would like to thank personally our customers and pay tribute to the airport community and the wider community for their continued hard work and support – this is an achievement that’s been a long time in the making and something we can all celebrate.
“Looking ahead, we are committed to nurturing what makes us special and working together to build a sustainable future for the visitors and communities we serve,” said Mr Keel.
Mayor Jim Boult also congratulated the airport team and the community on its achievement.
“Such a big milestone is a true reflection of Queenstown-Lakes’ continued popularity as a destination of choice for visitors and residents alike. The hard-working team at Queenstown Airport must be congratulated for delivering an excellent passenger experience that visitors to Queenstown have come to expect, and is doubtless a key factor in our district’s growth. Renee Brunton is the first 2 millionth passenger in a year and has some great local attractions to enjoy in recognition of that. I can only imagine what awaits the first 3 millionth passenger as an exciting Queenstown welcome!”
Air New Zealand Regional Affairs Manager Ian Collier said the airline was pleased to be part of the occasion.
“We are excited to be involved with this significant milestone for Queenstown Airport. Queenstown is one of the most popular destinations on our domestic network and we’ve seen tremendous growth in demand over recent years. We congratulate Queenstown Airport and the wider community for the high quality experience they offer New Zealand and international visitors to the region.”
Watch a video of the two millionth passenger celebrations below: