Queenstown Airport

Posted by Celia Biggs / 02 February 2015

Queenstown Airport has started construction of the new international terminal that it hopes will help it meet rising passenger demand for the foreseeable future. The NZ$12 million (€7.4 million) project will expand the current building footprint by a third in time for next winter.


Driven by strong year-on-year international passenger growth, the 4,080sqm addition to the southern end of the terminal will double the size of the airport’s international operations. 

The New Zealand gateway says it will allow it to better cater for existing passenger volumes and accommodate future growth.The new building is to be designed to blend in with the wider terminal but, while the outer shell will be completed by June 2015, the interior is set to be developed in three stages.

Stage One will be ready for next winter with new international arrival and departure lounges, a new customs area, airside retail stores, baggage claim and handling areas, a covered walkway, and office space. The changes will allow the airport to process up to 1,000 passengers per hour compared to the current 480.

Stage Two will involve spatial reconfiguration to simplify passenger flows between customs, baggage reclaim and the Ministry of Primary Industries’ bio-security area, as well as housing extra staff facilities.

Stage Three is predicted to be several years away, and will centre around developing a mezzanine floor, potentially for more gate lounges and retail space.

Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) chief executive, Scott Paterson, believes that building the outer shell now makes sense as it will better equip the airport to meet “surging” international demand both today and in the future. He explains: “The pop-up structure we installed this winter worked really well and gave us more space for international passengers, but we need permanent terminal capacity. “Our airlines are supportive of the scale of the new build which will give us the flexibility to move into the space when triggered by demand.”

The new terminal has been designed by John Rogers of CCM Architects, who has been the lead architect for terminal expansions since 2004, and is being built by Cook Brothers Construction and managed by RCP. Construction noise is not anticipated to be an issue and works will adhere to the New Zealand standard for construction noise, and the terminal expansion is the latest in a series of developments around Queenstown Airport.

Other new offerings in the past 12 months have included retail stores and cafés, a second airline lounge and a mini corporate jet terminal.

Queenstown has struggled to keep up with demand as half a million more passengers fly in each year than five years ago, and last year, the gateway handled 1.2 million passengers, up 5.1% on 2012, and the long-term target is five million.

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