Queenstown Airport buzzing for winter

10 July 2024

The snow has arrived with perfect timing and Queenstown Airport is buzzing.

Australian families have already been flying in for their school holidays and another surge is expected when New Zealand school holidays begin this weekend. However, the holidays are more spread out this year, so there will not be such a concentrated peak.

The Winter Pride event starting on 22 August and the Snow Machine Festival early in September will also bring an influx of visitors to Queenstown.

About 230,000 passenger movements* a month are expected in July and August, and about 206,000 in September. [arrivals and departures totalled]

Airlines have just boosted capacity for winter. Sundays will be busiest, with 61 flights scheduled.

“The terminal is full, but we love welcoming people for winter holidays, and we’re well-prepared,” Chief Operating Officer Todd Grace says.

“Late last year, we completed a Master Plan that includes an extension to the terminal. That’s definitely needed, and we’re working on the details now, but in the meantime, we are tackling smaller projects to make best use of the space we already have and to improve customer experience.”

Al fresco cafe and bar

A new cafe and fully licensed bar that opens directly on to the airport forecourt has just opened. Provenance boasts an enclosed courtyard that has excellent infrared heating to keep customers cosy in winter, and a retractable canopy roof and sides that can be rolled up in summer, ensuring year-round comfort. Open from 6am to 8pm, Provenance offers an all-day menu cooked to order, as well as an extensive range of sweet and savoury cabinet food made fresh each day.

“It’s rare to have an open-air dining area at an airport, but people are loving it. It’s a great space for our local community, as well as travellers,” Mr Grace says.

New furniture

New furniture has been installed in the international departure lounges, providing seating for an additional 60 people, as well as a variety of spaces to suit everyone from solo travellers to large family groups. Workstations and extra charging points have been added.

“We have other improvements planned, but this is a good start.”

The furniture in the domestic departures lounge has also been refreshed.

Bathroom refurbishment

Queenstown Airport’s bathroom facilities are being refurbished in stages, one set of toilets at a time. Those that are likely to change as part of the terminal development proposed in the Master Plan are getting fresh paint and a spruce-up, while the others will get a full makeover.

Traveller declarations

Everyone arriving in Queenstown from Australia needs to make a New Zealand Traveller Declaration. Passengers can save time (and the need to find a pen) by completing this online at www.travellerdeclaration.govt.nz or on the NZTD app up to 24 hours before their flight.

Passenger processing

Changes to the processing of passengers arriving from Australia are being trialled by the border agencies. The introduction of a biosecurity screening point before baggage collection has reduced queuing and sped up processing times.

“Every minute matters when you’re impatient to start your holiday,” Mr Grace says.

The trial will continue until 31 July to really test it with peak passenger numbers. If that goes smoothly, the new procedures are likely to become permanent.

First bag, last bag

Screens in the baggage claim areas now advise when the first and last bags from a flight have been put on the conveyor belt.

“We’re getting rid of the guesswork for passengers,” Mr Grace says.

Security screening

Since last winter, a fourth passenger screening lane has been created and state-of-the-art screening technology has been installed. This allows travellers to leave laptops, iPads and other large electronics in their bags. It is being used to screen passengers for selected domestic flights now. When it is fully implemented, it is expected to result in faster passenger processing times without compromising security.