Queenstown Airport opens new bar and cafe in time for holiday traffic

by Kim Bowden - Jul 05, 2024

If you're set to fly these school holidays, prepare for a busy airport.

Queenstown Airport is bracing itself for the two-week Kiwi winter school holidays, with airlines having boosted flights to cope with visitor demand.

Air New Zealand says the southern destination is topping its list of holiday hotspots for the term break, and it expects to deliver 31,000 customers to the airport.

In total, the national airline has added an extra 30,000 seats across 240 domestic flights to boost carrying capacity over the period.

"That means we have nearly half a million customers expected to travel with us from Friday, 5 July until Sunday, 21 July," the airline's chief operating officer Alex Marren says.

Ms Marren's advice: "If you’re travelling with little ones, or if you’re carrying some extra winter gear, allow yourself plenty of time to check in, drop your bags and make your way to the gate".

Plus, be prepared for winter weather disruptions, she says, and download an airline's app to stay updated on any flight changes.

Further south, Dunedin is set to be busy for the opening weekend of the holidays, with the All Blacks playing England there on Saturday.

Meanwhile, back in Queenstown, the team at the airport has already been welcoming visitors from across the ditch, with the Australian winter school holidays having started earlier than in New Zealand this year.

The airport says it means less of a "concentrated peak" and surges of travel instead.

It expects to see close to 230,000 passenger movements a month in July and August, and close to 206,000 in September.

Sundays will be the busiest day of the week, when there are 61 flights scheduled.

“The terminal is full, but we love welcoming people for winter holidays, and we’re well-prepared,” chief operating officer Todd Grace says.

“Late last year, we completed a Master Plan that includes an extension to the terminal. That’s definitely needed, and we’re working on the details now, but in the meantime, we are tackling smaller projects to make best use of the space we already have and to improve customer experience.”

A new cafe and bar that opens directly on to the airport forecourt has just opened.

Called 'Provenance', it has an enclosed courtyard with infrared heating for winter use and a retractable canopy roof and sides for summer. 

“It’s rare to have an open-air dining area at an airport, but people are loving it. It’s a great space for our local community, as well as travellers,” Mr Grace says.

The airport has also installed extra seating in its international departure lounges, providing seating for an additional 60 people, as well as workstations and extra charging points.

“We have other improvements planned, but this is a good start.”

Changes to the processing of passengers arriving from Australia are also being trialled by the border agencies, with the introduction of a biosecurity screening point before baggage collection reportedly reducing queuing and speeding up processing times.

“Every minute matters when you’re impatient to start your holiday,” Mr Grace says.

The trial will continue until the end of the month, meaning it will be well tested with peak passenger numbers. If that goes smoothly, the new procedures are likely to become permanent.

Another new addition, screens in the baggage claim areas now advise when the first and last bags from a flight have been put on the conveyor belt, "getting rid of the guesswork for passengers,” Mr Grace says.

A new, fourth passenger screening lane is also being used to screen passengers for selected domestic flights, with screening technology that allows travellers to leave laptops, iPads and other large electronics in their bags.

When it is fully implemented, it is expected to result in faster passenger processing times without compromising security.

Main image (Supplied/Queenstown Airport): Provenance cafe and bar has opened at Queenstown Airport.

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