Queenstown has been named New Zealand’s major airport of the year in recognition of its efforts to secure evening flights into the popular tourist hotspot.
The award was presented to Queenstown Airport chief executive Scott Paterson at the 2014 New Zealand Airports Association annual conference.
NZ Airports noted Queenstown Airport’s coordinated, structured industry approach to understanding the challenges and feasibility of evening flights.
“The judges were particularly impressed by the collaborative approach adopted by the working group, the emphasis on safety first and the potential benefits to the tourism industry and regional economy,” New Zealand Airports Association chief executive Kevin Ward said in a statement.
In May, the NZ Civil Aviation Authority granted the airport provisional approval to extend its operating hours into night flight operations, subject to a number of conditions.
Paterson said the prospect of evening flights starting in 2016 would help ease the load on the aircraft during the busy winter months.
“It will give travellers more flexibility, provide better connectivity across airline networks, and improve their airport experience,” Paterson said in a statement.
“Safety always comes first and this has been a collaborative effort for us all to put aside our individual commercial interests to work together and prepare a comprehensive safety case which was ultimately accepted by Civil Aviation authorities on both sides of the Tasman.”