Queenstown Airport to kick off infrastructure improvements

Queenstown Airport airside Dec 2014 sml compressor

Queenstown, New Zealand (2 November 2015) – Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) is starting work on a $17 million series of major airfield infrastructure improvements designed to pave the way for evening flights in winter 2016 and improve overall safety and efficiency of operations.

The airport’s main runway will be widened by 15 metres - from 30 metres to 45 metres - in accordance with conditions set down by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) when approving QAC’s evening flights safety case in May 2014.  Once the runway has been widened it will then be resurfaced.

The installation of a comprehensive lighting package including runway, taxiway, apron and approach lights – another key condition of evening flight regulatory approval – will also get underway this month. The project will be managed by QAC and Airways, New Zealand’s air navigation service provider.  Trenching for the required electrical cabling will commence shortly and the lighting package is expected to be complete in April 2016.

Queenstown Airport Acting Chief Executive Mark Edghill is looking forward to the infrastructure work kicking off and says it is part of QAC’s continuing investment to future-proof the airport.

“These upgrades will not only give us a more robust, durable runway in all weathers, they will lay the groundwork for us to host evening flights in and out of Queenstown next winter which we believe will be a game-changer for the region,” Mr Edghill said.

The technical design of the project will be led by engineering firm Beca and the implementation will be managed by a construction team from Downer New Zealand.  The works are contained entirely within the Queenstown Airport Aerodrome Designation in the Queenstown Lakes District Plan where these types of activities are anticipated.

During November, Downer will establish the job site which will be located at the north-eastern end of the runway near Glenda Drive and away from nearby homes.  Downer will then commence widening the runway by 7.5 metres on each side in early December.

In mid-January a mobile asphalt plant will be assembled at the job site and resurfacing work across the entire runway will begin in February and finish in April 2016.

Aside from establishing the site and the cable trenching, all construction work will be done at night when the airport is not operational and work will be completed by 5am each morning in time for normal operations to resume.  A holiday break is planned from 23 December to 5 January.

Mr Edghill says the construction team will do everything practically possible to minimise the impact of any disruption on neighbouring residents throughout the process.

“All practicable measures will be taken to keep dust levels to a minimum, lighting towers will be directed away from houses, and the crew will be working hard to ensure any noise and vibration during construction is kept to a reasonable level.

“We’ll be keeping our neighbours closely informed over the next few months through letters and weekly updates on our website and they will also be able to contact our team via an after-hours hotline with any questions they may have,” Mr Edghill said.

Residents can phone the QAC Noise Administrator on 03 450 9229 during office hours.  Alternatively, the after-hours hotline number during the project is 027 433 5695.

Mr Edghill says the introduction of evening flights will maximise the airport’s consented operating hours (6am-10pm) during the winter months and reduce pressure on its facilities and services which have been experiencing sustained growth in passenger and traffic volumes.

“This is part of our long term development plan to respond to strong demand from people wanting to experience the stunning southern region,” Mr Edghill said. “Evening flights will spread the peak times more evenly, unlock more opportunities for passengers to access our region, provide locals with more travel options and create job opportunities for our community.”

For more information about evening flights visit www.queenstownairport.co.nz/eveningflights.  

ENDS

For more information please contact:
Jen Andrews
Communications Manager
Queenstown Airport
Phone:  +64 3 450 9223 
Email:  jen@queenstownairport.co.nz