Queenstown and Arrowtown property owners will have significant implications from the outcome of the Queenstown airports future whether it be related to the growth of the regions population and the flow on affect, to the infrastructure or to the commuting in and out of the region.
The future of the existing Queenstown airport is at a cross roads and planning for its future is in the hands of Queenstown Lakes District Council and the Queenstown airport corporation. The Queenstown Lakes District Council is 75% owner, representing the residents and the Queenstown Airport Corporation represents their own corporate interests and those of their shareholders – including Auckland International Airport.
Forecast passenger demand exceeds the airport’s capacity constraints. The airport is faced with making significant decisions. The options are providing significant debate for the Frankton and Wanaka communities. The options are seen as being;
- Relocation of Queenstown Airport to a new site that could accommodate the forecast demand more safely, efficiently and with fewer negative impacts.
- A dual airport strategy that retains and expands Queenstown Airport and substantially develops Wanaka Airport to enable demand to be split between the two.
It is reported that the decision is being made without enough research, analysis and evaluation of the options by the council and Airport Corporation.
Some locals that have engaged in the outcome of this process are concerned that as well as the lack of substance behind the question of possible alternative sites, there is zero assessment of the question of whether to completely relocate the airport.
It is stated that the potential value of QAC’s Frankton Flats landholding has not been identified, and that the advantages of building one airport debt free, versus almost totally rebuilding two airports constrained by topography, community, safety issues and long-term debt, have not been thoroughly considered.
The communities are requesting that the decisions made are reflective of due consideration of the Queenstown, Arrowtown and Wanaka populations aspirations and not dictated by out of town corporates.