What is QAC planning at Wanaka Airport?

Queenstown Airport Company’s proposals have been unfolding over the last few years (now with increasing urgency), and include:

  • Domestic flights, Airbus320s & 321s and Boeing 737s by 2025. QAC suggests it would base flights on the claim that the Upper Clutha delivers 400,000 passenger movements currently.
  • International flights are “on the table”, probably starting with trans-Tasman winter flights.
  • Currently Queenstown Airport hosts just over 2 million passenger movements per annum. By 2035 QAC is projecting Wanaka and Queenstown Airports will be servicing 6 million combined international and domestic passenger movements annually. Rising to 7.1 million passengers by 2045.

QAC is 75.01% owned by QLDC: The stated objective of QLDC’s other shareholder (Auckland International Airport Ltd) is to maximise return for shareholders.

QAC is talking about a ‘dual airport model’, and have big plans for Wanaka. They want to spend over $400 million on extending the runway and making the airport jet capable.

  • To make that kind of investment work QAC will need a lot of flights – this will really turbo charge tourist growth and demand in our region. Build it and they will come!  
  • Based on current QAC growth projections, at Wanaka Airport we could expect up to 2.8 million passenger movements per year by 2035, and 3.9 million by 2045. To put that in perspective, Queenstown currently has about 2.4 million movements. 
  • Note – that is not passengers but movements, so one flight in, one out per person

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