Air­port growth set to con­tinue

Central Otago Mirror - - CONVERSATIONS - COLIN KEEL

It’s safe to say we’ve had a big year at Queen­stown Air­port in many ways. In­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture and record break­ing pas­sen­ger num­bers early in Jan­uary set the air­port up for an­other bumper year of growth and ex­pan­sion.

Fol­low­ing the $19.65m run­way and light­ing in­fra­struc­ture up­grade, af­ter-dark flights be­gan in May and June to much fan­fare. It was a huge step for the air­port and dis­trict, ce­ment­ing our po­si­tion as the fourth largest air­port in the coun­try.

Af­ter-dark flights will con­tinue to sup­port more than just the air­port. Longer op­er­at­ing hours, more flights and in­creased pas­sen­gers en­sure busi­nesses across the dis­trict ben­e­fit, in­clud­ing the re­gion’s ski re­sorts which all re­ported strong win­ter num­bers.

Our air­port com­mu­nity also grew from 350 to 500 peo­ple, es­tab­lish­ing QAC as one of the re­gion’s big­gest em­ploy­ers. With an all-time high in Au­gust of 1.7 mil­lion pas­sen­gers for the pre­vi­ous 12 month pe­riod, the air­port is set to con­tinue this phe­nom­e­nal growth next year.

Such am­pli­fied growth presents us with some chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties which we em­brace as we con­tinue to en­gage with the com­mu­ni­ties that we serve and nav­i­gate our way through pe­ri­ods of planned growth. Our ul­ti­mate goal is to en­sure all our vis­i­tors have a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence when ar­riv­ing or fly­ing from Queen­stown Air­port.

At the be­gin­ning of this year we com­mit­ted to a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to bet­ter un­der­stand and pro­vide short term so­lu­tions for the in­creased de­mand on car park­ing at the air­port.

Com­pleted in Novem­ber, our staged car park­ing ex­pan­sion works added ap­prox­i­mately 50 spa­ces – an in­crease of over 10 per cent in the short and long term park­ing ar­eas.

We also con­ducted re­search over two months this win­ter on peo­ple us­ing SH6 for park­ing spa­ces. While around half of the users were park­ing on SH6 in­stead of us­ing the air­port park­ing, the other half were park­ing for less than three days and many for just a day. So­lu­tions to the cur­rent Frank­ton park­ing en­vi­ron­ment is a shared goal and a fo­cus for all par­ties in­volved.

We are also ac­tive in con­ver­sa­tions around an air­port park and ride trial which would of­fer an af­ford­able, long term park­ing so­lu­tion and we an­tic­i­pate mak­ing a de­ci­sion on this next year.

We’ve achieved a lot in a short pe­riod. This will con­tinue in the New Year with works to im­prove ve­hi­cle flow at the air­port en­trance, es­tab­lish­ment of a new round­about, re­lo­ca­tion of the coach parks to Chris Read Green and the ad­di­tion of a dual lane to part of the ac­cess road.

Ul­ti­mately these works will en­able us to re-in­state the pub­lic drop-off lane di­rectly out­side the ter­mi­nal, some­thing which we know is of great im­por­tance to our vis­i­tors.

Colin Keel is chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Queen­stown Air­port Cor­po­ra­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.