Queenstown Airport - International Terminal Expanded

Posted by Celia Biggs / 10 August 2015

Twenty years after the first foreign passenger stepped foot on the tarmac ready for alpine adventures, Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) is celebrating the opening of its expanded international terminal. 

Chief executive, Scott Paterson, says the $17 million extension adds 4100sqm to the southern end of the terminal building, doubling the size of the airport's international operations. "Being able to offer a top-class facility in a world-renowned destination has strengthened our position as a key regional and international gateway for New Zealand," Paterson said.

Queenstown Airport currently welcomes 1.39 million visitors a year with international passenger volumes growing exponentially from 24,000 in 2005 to 381,000 in 2015. Paterson is justifiably proud of the new terminal and says it represents a huge expansion in the airport's international service and facilities. "Back when our first international flight arrived on 1 July 1995, and for several years after, passengers were processed by customs in a makeshift space outside the terminal. We've come a long way in 20 years."

In recent weeks, the airport operations team, border protection agencies and airlines have been transitioning from the old to the new international terminal in order to test systems and streamline passenger flows ahead of the peak winter flight schedule. Customs Inspection and MPI Biosecurity processing areas are also moving into their newly configured spaces. Within the enlarged Duty Free Store, travellers can explore a wide range of electronic products as well as an expanded collection of fragrances, a range of single-malt whiskies and champagnes and a well-curated selection of Central Otago wines. The store also encompasses a Lonely Planet shop.

In 10 years' time annual international passenger numbers are expected to increase to more than 660,000. To enhance the speed of passenger flows in future, a dedicated zone for Smart Gates has been allowed for in the new customs area. A new mezzanine floor has also been built to allow for developments such as gate lounges, retail space and, if appropriate, air bridges, with QAC developing these spaces further as demand requires.

Paterson considers the new space has put the airport ahead of the curve in terms of accommodating existing and future passenger volumes. "It's been a constant battle as our infrastructure has struggled to keep pace with huge year-on-year passenger growth and this time we are fortunate to have strong support from our airline users to build a bigger shell for future expansion. "The design and quality of the build is outstanding so it's important that as an airport community we continue to deliver excellent service and a wonderful first and last impression of the region for our passengers," he said.

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