Queenstown Airport today released its draft Master Plan for public consultation.
“The plan brings our strategic vision to life and provides the framework for an innovative airport that will continue to serve the region well,” Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) Board Chair Adrienne Young-Cooper says.
It proposes a series of infrastructure improvements over the next decade to deliver on the 10-year Strategic Plan approved in September 2022. It also allocates space to provide options for the community’s needs beyond 2032 and to enable and support the continued decarbonisation of aviation.
“Long-term planning is necessary to ensure we appropriately consider and invest in infrastructure to maintain the highest levels of safety, resilience, efficiency and customer service,” Mrs Young-Cooper says.
“We are on the verge of global changes to the aviation sector as the focus on decarbonisation and innovative technology escalates. It is, therefore, important to have a Master Plan for an airport that is future-ready and continues to contribute to the social and economic wellbeing of the region over the long term,” she says.
Chief Executive Glen Sowry says the draft Master Plan reflects QAC’s commitment to operate within its 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 local residents and visitors to the airport.
“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,” Mr Sowry says.
“As part of the development of this draft Master Plan, we talked to a broad range of people from across the region to help guide us on the issues of significance to our communities. The key themes included access to and from the airport, a focus on excellent customer experience, and maximising the airport’s connection with the landscape and environment.
“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.”
Mr Sowry says QAC supports the Queenstown Lakes District’s ambition to be a carbon-zero tourism destination by 2030 and is planning for a modest, incremental increase in passenger numbers in line with projected population growth.
“We are proposing an 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,” Mr Sowry says.
“We are prioritising active travel and public transport links. We’re also proposing a new green link that will connect the terminal to cycle trails and down to the proposed ferry jetty on Lake Whakatipu.”
Key projects proposed in the draft
Master Plan include:
- extending and modernising the terminal
- creating better passenger flow and land transport connections, prioritising active and public transport networks
- relocating 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
- constructing a parallel taxiway to improve the efficiency of the airfield and to reduce emissions on the ground and in the air
- constructing an extra aircraft parking stand
- enhancing the safety of the runway by installing new technology, with engineered materials arresting systems (EMAS) at each end
- building a new base for the Airport Emergency Service.
“Technology is advancing rapidly and the draft Master Plan has preserved space at the airport to allow us to quickly adapt to enable sustainable aviation,” Mr Sowry says.
In preparing the draft Master Plan, QAC applied core financial and funding principles to ensure it makes the best use of its assets, can continue to pay a dividend to shareholders, and manages debt at prudent levels. Future development will be staged and each step subject to approval by the board of directors, as well as any required shareholder and regulatory approvals, before any capital investment is made.
Public consultation on the draft Master Plan is open until 23 June and is being done in partnership with the Queenstown Lakes District Council. More information about the plan and consultation process can be found here.
Pop-up information sessions will also be held at public locations around the Southern Lakes Region over the next month. A lunchtime webinar for the public will be held on 31 May.
“We encourage everyone to learn about our plans and to give us feedback,” Mr Sowry says.
“We want to know what your vision for the airport is, what you like and what you would like to see change to ensure Queenstown Airport best meets the needs of the region and our communities in the decades ahead.”