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 its 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 Queensland Airport Corporation (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's acting chief executive, Mark Edghill, admits that he is looking forward to the infrastructure work kicking off, adding that it will help "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,” he says.
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.
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,” says Edghill.
“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.”