Opening of Newly Sealed Runway Is a Major Benefit for General Aviation at Queenstown Airport
Pilot, and Chair of the Wakatipu Aero Club, Mr Adrian Snow, and his passenger, 93 year old aviator and former RNZAF pilot, Mr Robin Muir, were in the first aircraft to officially take off and land on the sealed runway.
With seven substantial light aircraft operators making thousands of take offs and landings on the runway each year, the main driver behind sealing the previously green runway, was to make it better for these operators, pilots and their passengers.
“In the past the runway had to be frequently closed due to adverse weather conditions such as after a heavy frost or heavy rain which could cause flooding,’ said Mr Steve Sanderson, Chief Executive Officer, Queenstown Airport. “Sealing the runway will greatly reduce the number of disruptions as well as further improve safety.”
“It is an honour to be the first pilot to use the runway,” said Mr Snow. “As a pilot the sealed surface of the runway means much safer operating conditions than the previous grass surface. It’s also much more pleasant to land and take off on asphalt for the pilot and passengers.”
“The Aero Club welcomes the investment by Queenstown Airport in the runway and its support of general aviation in Queenstown,” said Mr Snow.
Hank Sproull, Chief Executive of flightseeing operator Air Milford, also added that the newly sealed runway is an integral part of the Airways system at Queenstown Airport as it means large scheduled aircraft and smaller aircraft can operate safely and comfortably together.
“This is the best thing that has happened for flightseeing operators at Queenstown Airport,” said Mr Sproull. “It’s good for our business making our operations much more efficient.”
In total the project took 10 weeks to complete and cost approximately $800,000.