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We are at a critical stage in the development of Queenstown Airport. Forecast passenger demand exceeds the airport’s capacity constraints, placing Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) and its majority owner Queenstown Lakes District Council at a crossroads where they must choose from three distinctly different growth options. These are:

  1. A cap on numbers at Queenstown Airport, with excess demand redirected to Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill.
  2. Relocation of Queenstown Airport to a new site that could accommodate the forecast demand more safely, efficiently and with fewer negative impacts.
  3. A dual airport strategy that retains and expands Queenstown Airport and substantially develops Wanaka Airport to enable demand to be split between the two.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and the choice, once made, will shape Queenstown, our district and this region for the next 50-100 years.  

Such a decision should be well informed and carefully considered, based on solid analysis of all three options. It should be made by our community leaders - our councillors - after wide consultation and with our best long term strategic interests at its centre.  

But this is not the case. 

QAC alone has decided on the dual airport strategy, with information released in the public realm limited to arguments supporting this approach. QAC's reports reveal it has given scant time to researching, analysing or assessing the other two options.

We are deeply concerned that our community’s future and the character of our district is being railroaded by an airport company that is acting in its own narrow, short-term business interests. 

The trigger that started our efforts was the Shaping Our Future workshop in September 2018. This identified the airport as the primary obstacle to creating the liveable, peaceful, connected and vibrant community its residents want to live in. Concurrent with that was the vehement district wide opposition to Queenstown Airport’s proposed expansion of noise boundaries. This expansion would cover a further 3,000 properties in the basin, with flights every four minutes during peak hours.

For us, the aspirations of the community in Frankton, and the crystal clear message from the whole community to restrict the noise boundaries, are important watershed moments. While some people, including leaders in our community, appear to be ignoring these signals and remain intent on a "business as usual" approach to growth and its direction, two urban planners, David Jerram and Gillian Macleod, responded with vision. 

In a bold step, they reimagined Frankton without the airport and they developed plans that would allow Frankton to develop into the thriving community heart of our district.

That vision inspired a team of people to independently investigate this idea. 

Our investigations have revealed that relocating the airport would have significant positive effects across all sectors. It would be better for Frankton, the Wakatipu, Wanaka, and the region. Better for the community, tourism, local transport, the environment, and global climate change. Better financially for housing affordability, for ratepayers and for the airlines.

Ironically, our research has shown that relocating the airport to cheaper land, and raising $1.2 billion from selling the Frankton Flats landholding, would also be much better for QAC, saving it millions in debt, making it a more profitable company better able to serve its clients, shareholders and community. 

We encourage you to learn more by navigating the extensive research and arguments using the menu button at top left.

The people involved in FlightPlan2050 have nothing to gain personally or in business from this proposal. We focus our efforts on evidence, logic and the deepening of our collective understanding of the many aspects involved. We hope through this that our community choices will be wiser.

If you have any questions, please ask.  If you think we have made an error, please let us know and we will correct it. We encourage you to join the conversation - especially in this election year.


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