Queenstown readies for airport ski boom

01:12, Apr 22 2013
Queenstown Airport
BUSIER: Queenstown Airport will have more than 100 extra flights this ski season.

International airline schedules for ski season in the Wakatipu have jumped by more than 100 extra flights amid continued expansion at Queenstown Airport.

The airport has poured millions of dollars into development in recent years to accommodate growth spurts, increased demand and more passengers.

Queenstown Airport head of communications Nina Crawford said the peak week would start on July 15, when there were 290 scheduled flights - 208 domestic flights and 82 international services.

Overall, the number of scheduled landings was about the same as last year but, overall, international flights increased considerably, and domestic flights decreased.

Between June and September the number of scheduled international flights increases to 546 this year compared to 405 last year.

The busiest month for international flights is July, with 177 scheduled flights compared to 144 last year.

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Queenstown Airport aeronautical general manager Simon Barr said the airport also signed off new rental car firm lease agreements in the terminal and opened a dedicated office for an expanding Aviation Security Service.

The Queenstown trans-Tasman route was among the most profitable of the trans-Tasman routes, he said.

Avis, Budget and Hertz successfully tendered for premium six-year leases and Europcar and Thrifty were granted three-year tenancies.

Mr Barr said 10 rental companies operated inside the terminal for about five years until leases expired.

He said a television documentary on rental company charges had shown front-line staff saying charges levied by the airport were passed on to customers.

Some referred to "airport tax" or "Government tax" when this was not the case. Charges might be levied by companies as, for example, premium location fees but had nothing to do with the airport.

"They chose to charge, we don't levy anything at all," he said.

Reducing the number of tenancies to six expanded the space available to biosecurity officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and improved passenger flow from the international arrivals hall, Mr Barr said.

Other developments on the horizon include doubling the size of the main duty-free store and small-scale building work.

The Southland Times