An expansion of Queenstown Airport getting under way will double the number of international passengers the airport can handle.
Queenstown Airport Corporation says construction is starting on a new international terminal, which will expand the current building footprint by a third in time for next winter.
The 4,080sq m addition to the southern end of the terminal, reported to cost $12 million, will double the size of the airport’s international operations.
The outer shell of the new building will be completed by June, in time for next year’s ski season, and the interior will be developed in three stages.
The first stage includes a new customs area, retail stores, baggage claim and handling areas, a covered walkway, and office space.
It will allow the airport to process up to 1,000 passengers per hour compared to the current 480.
Queenstown Airport in Frankton is the nation’s fourth-busiest airport.
Queenstown Lakes District Council was criticised for selling 24.9 per cent of the airport to Auckland Airport in 2010, with residents arguing they were not consulted.
The corporation reported a net profit after tax of $6.6 million in the year to June 30, 2014, up 25 per cent from the previous year.
The airport has been handling record numbers of passengers and trans-Tasman passenger growth has been particularly strong.
The airport will still run into capacity constraints unless it can purchase 18.4 hectares of land nearby to build a parallel taxiway to the main runway, Mountain Scene reported.
The dispute is being dealt with by the Environment Court.