Enhancing the park-to-plane customer experience

QAC MAY 2017 003

A two-year multi-million dollar programme of works designed to enhance the customer experience kicks off this week at Queenstown Airport.

”Project Pathway” will increase terminal capacity and related infrastructure to cater for growth over the next several years.  It aims to enhance the park-to-plane experience by improving customer and staff space and flow throughout the airport with a combination of process, technology, resourcing and infrastructure improvements. 

Pathway will focus on delivering enhancements to six areas of the terminal and related infrastructure over the next two years - the border agency space management area, customer check-in, security screening, domestic gate lounges, commercial transfer area and baggage make-up unit.  When completed, the airport’s terminal capacity will be able to cater for approximately 2.8 million passenger movements per year*. 

Queenstown Airport Chief Executive Colin Keel said a cross-functional team across the airport community had been working on the project planning for several months, focusing initially on smart process design and new technology to enable greater operational efficiency and an improved customer experience.

“While we continue to work on unlocking the constraints to long-term growth as part of the 30-year master plan for Queenstown Airport, we remain committed to ensuring the most memorable airport experience we can for our customers day in and day out.

“Planning for future growth that is sustainable and minimises the effects on the communities we serve and our environment are key priorities for us and Project Pathway will assist in facilitating short-term growth needs within the current terminal building space where possible,” he said.

“We’re also committed to supporting our airport community members by ensuring suitable space for all staff to work in a safe, healthy and secure environment that is fit-for-purpose.”

First Pathway Project: Border Agency Space Management Area (October 2018 – April 2019)

This week a $2.4 million upgrade to the border agency processing areas in the international arrivals area gets underway.  The upgrade will enhance the overall arrival experience for international passengers and expand the working environment of Customs, Biosecurity New Zealand and Immigration.  It will also include a new “dog rest” building outside the terminal for the Customs and Biosecurity New Zealand working dogs.

Sensor technology, which has recently been introduced at the entrance to the security screening area to display wait times for departing customers, will also be introduced in the international arrivals area.  The sensors will transmit live data to the airport website and flight information screen at the international arrival gates to inform greeters of passenger processing times.

The works will be conducted in stages from October 2018 to April 2019 and have been planned to minimise disruption for staff and international customers arriving to the airport.  No works will be conducted during the busy Christmas period from 21 December to 14 January and all noisy construction work will be completed at night. 

Mr Keel said that the construction of the new modular Operations Centre (the Hub) late last year had helped to free up internal terminal space to expand the border agency area.

“Our border agencies have expanded their teams in line with the airport’s growth, so it is important that they have the space needed for customer processing and their staff.” 

Second Pathway Project: Domestic Gate Lounge Expansion (October 2018 – December 2018)

Work also starts this week on remodelling an area between departure gates 5 (domestic) and 6 (international) to create a versatile ‘swing lounge’.  The lounge will be operational by 15 December in time for the busy Christmas and summer period.  The swing lounge will enable the domestic departures area to be expanded into the international departure lounge area and vice versa as needed to ensure the right amount of space for these important customer zones.

Mr Keel says that flexible infrastructure is key to optimising space for customers and providing an adaptable, efficient footprint.

“The new swing lounge will allow us to adapt to the shifting demands of domestic and international passengers throughout the day.

“We would like to thank our customers and the airport community in advance for their understanding and co-operation as we embark on this important programme of works to enhance the airport environment,” said Mr Keel.

Note: All airports report passengers and aircraft in “movements”:

  • Passenger movements count both arrivals and departures i.e. 1 passenger is counted as 2 movements – their arrival and then their departure. This means that the actual number of visitors/residents arriving into the region via the airport is approximately half the number of passenger movements.  For example, it could be a local travelling for business/leisure or a visitor arriving/leaving but they effectively use the airport facilities twice which means we count them twice.
  • Aircraft movements are counted the same way i.e. 1 take-off = 1 movement and 1 landing = 1 movement.