Queenstown Airport is celebrating the completion of its new international terminal expansion two decades after the airport welcomed its first overseas passengers.
The airport’s international terminal had been doubled in size after the 4,100 metre squared expansion work was completed in late June, adding two additional gate lounges, a new customs processing area, a third baggage belt and more shops.
Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) chief executive Scott Paterson said the improved facilities would cater for the ongoing growth in people visiting the popular NZ tourist spot, noting international passenger numbers had increased from 24,000 in 2005 to 381,000 in 2015.
“Back when our first international flight arrived on 1 July 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,” he said in a statement.
“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 is forecast to receive more than 660,000 international passengers a year by 2025. The airport currently has international flights from Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney.
Paterson said the 150 contractors on site over the past nine months had completed the project on time and on budget, adding that the additional space for international flights put the airport “ahead of the curve” in terms of accommodating the current and expected growth in passenger numbers.
“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,” Paterson said.
“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.”
The terminal is being officially opened at a private function on Wednesday evening.