Queenstown Airport CEO Glen Sowry reflects on the past year with pride and is invigorated by the work ahead.
The iconic Christmas tree sparkling in front of the Queenstown Airport terminal is a reminder the year is fast coming to an end. We’ve packed a lot into the past 12 months and I’m proud of all we’ve achieved.
A key piece of work has been the development of a Master Plan to deliver on the aspirations set out in our 10-year Strategic Plan last year and to guide the development of Queenstown Airport over the coming decades, while enabling and supporting lower-emission aviation.
Consultation on a draft plan began in May and gave me a valuable opportunity to talk to people across the Southern Lakes region about how we can develop an airport we can all be proud of and that meets the needs of the communities we serve, far into the future.
The deep interest in our work reinforced what a vital role the airport plays as a social and economic enabler. It also highlighted how important it is that we protect what makes ZQN unique, while improving our infrastructure and operational efficiency.
The final Master Plan was endorsed by our shareholders – the Queenstown Lakes District Council and Auckland International Airport – last month and approved by the Queenstown Airport board of directors on 7 December. You can download it from our Master Plan page.
This is an exciting time for ZQN. Over the coming months, we will be changing gears as we move into more detailed planning, procurement, and delivery, which is where the hard work will really begin.
I am fortunate to lead a team of passionate and engaged people, who are enthusiastic about our vision for the future. As we develop each project, we will be keeping innovation, customer experience, and community ownership front of mind.
These touchstones have served us well as pent-up demand to travel has seen passenger numbers bounce back. If it’s been a while since you visited Queenstown Airport, you’ll notice lots of changes next time you fly. We’ve been working hard on taking some of the stress out of checking in and boarding your flight.
One of our most significant investments over the past year has been extra self-service kiosks and automated bag drops to speed up the check-in process. This new technology has dramatically reduced congestion in the check-in area during peak times and is an excellent example of how Queenstown Airport can use innovation to make travel smoother.
Another example is the introduction of solar-powered aircraft access ramps. These are fully enclosed and have handrails, a low gradient and anti-slip flooring, which makes them safer than the stairs they are replacing. They also reduce the number of passengers who need assistance boarding.
We’ve made changes behind the scenes, too, working with airlines to introduce slot management, and setting up an integrated operations centre. These changes have improved operational efficiency and flexibility, which will be particularly helpful as we enter the busy summer season.
This is just the start of the improvements we intend to make, and we know our community will continue to take a keen interest in our activities. Our region is populated by people who travel often and who have strong opinions about what makes a great airport. If you have an idea you’d like us to consider, or other thoughts you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you. Please email email@example.com.
Finally, I’d like to thank all those who have encouraged and supported us during the past 12 months. Collaboration and close alignment with the communities we serve are essential to our success.
We are all privileged to live in an incredible place, so many of you will be welcoming visitors over the next few weeks. Others will be flying away to spend Christmas or New Year with loved ones elsewhere or for a summer holiday.
To those of you hosting our visitors, ngā mihi nui. And to those of you getting a break, I wish you a happy and relaxing holiday season.