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Queenstown Airport welcomes Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand plans to introduce evening flights

December 15, 2016 Airport No Comments Email Email

Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) is delighted with the announcement that Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand plan to introduce an evening ski shuttle service between Australia and Queenstown in time for next winter.

Subject to regulatory approval, Virgin Australia will operate evening services from Queenstown to Brisbane on Friday and Sunday from 23 June 2017 while Air New Zealand will operate services from Queenstown to Sydney on Saturday and Sunday from 1 July 2017. The new services are on sale from today Wednesday 14 December 2016.

This means a total of 38 return services each week between Australia and Queenstown during the 2017 ski season. Both airlines have added additional flights to their schedules and moved some flights to the evening, so visitors can maximise their stay. This equates to a combined extra capacity of more than 5,500 seats across the four weeks.

“This is great news for Queenstown and the broader region. The introduction of evening flights last winter gave visitors a wider choice when visiting this spectacular part of the world,” said QAC Chief Executive Colin Keel.

“We saw a great uptake by Australians in the evening flights offered from Melbourne, with people coming here to make the most of the extended operating hours, staying and skiing for longer.

“The addition of Sydney and Brisbane to the evening flight options means even more people can jump on an afternoon flight, go night skiing and still have another two full days on the mountains before flying home on Sunday evening. This helps increase length of stay in the region which benefits a number of businesses in the community.”

“It’s also pleasing to see that Virgin Australia has confidence in the Queenstown market as they seek to have their safety case approved for after-dark flights operating B737-800 aircraft, which is a big step forward,” added Colin.

Last winter, 79% of Queenstown Airport’s trans-Tasman passengers were Australian and half were Australians under 35 years old. For the period June to August 2016, international passenger numbers were 162,506, an increase of 6% year on year (152,967).

The additional services will continue to maximise Queenstown Airport’s current consented operating hours (6am-10pm) and reduce peak-time pressure on facilities and services which have been experiencing sustained growth in passenger and traffic volumes.

The additional services are as follows:

Brisbane to Queenstown 

Day of week Flight Details Dates
Friday BNE-ZQN 1450/2020 23 June 2017-21 July 2017
ZQN-BNE 2115/2305
Sunday BNE-ZQN 1450/2020 25 June 2017-17 September 2017
ZQN-BNE 2115/2305

Sydney to Queenstown 

Day of week Flight Details Dates
Saturday SYD-ZQN 1155/1700 01Jul 2017-30 Jul 2017
ZQN-SYD 1800/1920
Sunday SYD-ZQN 1155/1700 01Jul 2017-30 Jul 2017
ZQN-SYD 1800/1920

The airlines will continue to work with the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority and Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority to establish the new services.

Queenstown Airport Evening Flights Facts:

  • Evening flights with Air New Zealand from Auckland to Queenstown started in May this year
  • Queenstown Airport undertook a $19m runway and lighting infrastructure upgrade in order to accommodate evening flights. Completed earlier this year, the work included:

o   Widening the main runway to 45 metres from its current 30 metres

o   Resurfacing the runway with a 110mm thick asphalt overlay and lateral surface grooving to improve friction

o   Improved navigational infrastructure through the installation of a comprehensive aeronautical lighting package (runway, taxiway, approach and apron lights)

  • From June 2017 Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand will operate evening flights trans-Tasman between Sydney and Brisbane.

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