Queenstown Airport will be ready to receive after-dark flights from the end of April following the completion of a runway and airfield lighting upgrade.
The $18 million runway works, completed over the past six months, have widened the runway from 30m to 45m and resurfaced it with a 110mm asphalt overlay.
The installation of the $1.65 million airfield lighting package, which includes new runway, taxiway, and apron and approach lights, has been managed by air navigation service provider Airways New Zealand.
The lighting installation and upgrade to the supporting system in the air traffic control tower will be completed this week, then the new system will be fully tested prior to commissioning.
The runway enhancements and airfield lighting upgrades were key conditions set by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for approving the Airport’s evening flights safety case in 2014.
Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) Acting CEO Mark Edghill is delighted with the result and congratulated everyone involved on “a fantastic job” in delivering the upgrade on time and on budget.
“This is a major milestone for us – the infrastructure upgrades have long term strategic and operational benefits so it was important to get them right. We now have a more resilient airfield to serve the Queenstown Lakes region in all weathers and the improvements are a critical enabler for after-dark flights in and out of Queenstown,” he said.
“Over the past six months we have been co-ordinating two night-time projects to run almost in parallel and ensure that the airfield is safely ready for operations every morning, so it’s a real testament to the collaboration of number of organisations working well together and the commitment of everyone involved.
“A huge thanks to our contractors Downer and Beca and to the QAC and Airways teams for their professionalism, hard work and dedication in executing the project.”
Mr Edghill also thanked the airport’s neighbouring residents and wider community for their support over the past six months.
“We really appreciate their patience and understanding. The team was very aware of the impact of overnight works could have on our neighbours and did their utmost to mitigate any issues but operating heavy machinery at night is always a challenge.”