QAC backed on Sounds Air [ODT, 02/07/20]
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult has backed the Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) over its decision not to approve Sounds Air’s proposed scheduled service between Wanaka Airport and Christchurch.
Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford expressed bewilderment last week that it had not been given approval to operate its nine-seater Pilatus PC12 despite approaches over the past two and a-half years.
Mr Boult said he believed QAC was “holding true to the commitment” made by it and the Queenstown Lakes District Council that no development or return of scheduled flights at Wanaka Airport would be considered until after impact assessments had been completed and appropriate planning undertaken.
“That assurance is what is being honoured here in response to the community voices that requested a halt on any and all activity at Wanaka.”
Sounds Air is surveying Upper Clutha residents about their views on its proposed service.
Mr Boult said it was important to consider the results “and see how that informs the conversation going forward”.
The QAC’s statement of intent, determining the actions it should take at Wanaka and Queenstown Airports, is due to be considered by the council again in October.
“If there is genuine community interest and a compelling and sustainable commercial proposition, I welcome the proposed Sounds Air service being part of that discussion,” Mr Boult said.
The council and QAC could then look at all the information to define what happened next.
Sounds Air wants to make 15 return flights to Christchurch a week.