New Queenstown Airport international terminal opens

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Queenstown Airport in New Zealand has opened its NZ$17m (US$11.6m), 44,000ft² terminal expansion, doubling the size of the airport’s international operations.

The expanded terminal now includes two new gate lounges, a state-of-the-art customs processing area, expanded airside retail outlets, a third baggage carousel and back-of-house handling areas.

The international arrivals area features a new Aelia Duty Free store operated by LS travel retail Pacific that offers a wide range of electronic products including Go Pros, fit bits, TomTom watches, tablets, Apple iPads and iPods, as well as an expanded range of fragrances, a selection of Central Otago wines and a range of single malt whiskies and champagnes. It also features a ‘world first’ shop-in-shop Lonely Planet store.

Over the past few 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 July and August flight schedule.

Customs inspection and MPI biosecurity processing areas will open in mid-July, featuring a dedicated space for smart gates that will further speed up passenger flows. Although the smart gates will not be available this winter, the airport is working with customs to introduce them as soon as possible.

A new mezzanine floor has also been built to allow for future developments such as gate lounges, retail space and air bridges if and when appropriate.

Scott Paterson, Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) chief executive, commented, “Back when our first international flight arrived on July 1, 1995, and for several years after, passengers were processed by customs in a makeshift space outside the terminal so we’ve come a long way in 20 years.

“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.”

Queenstown Airport currently welcomes 1.38 million visitors a year and international passenger volumes have grown exponentially from 24,000 in 2005 to 381,000 in 2015. In 10 years’ time, international passenger numbers are expected to increase to more than 660,000.

“It’s been a constant battle as our infrastructure has struggled to keep pace with huge year-on-year passenger growth, so this time we are very fortunate to have strong support from our airline users to build a bigger shell for future expansion,” said Paterson.

“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.”

Airbiz was the lead terminal planner for the project and worked closely with the airport in consulting with airline and border protection agencies. The end-to-end design process was overseen by John Rogers of CCM Architects, who has been the lead architect for the airport’s terminal expansions since 2004. The terminal was built by Cook Brothers Construction and project managed by RCP.

The terminal will be officially opened at a private function on July 1, which is 20 years to the day after the airport welcomed its first international service.

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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