New Zealand unveils Queenstown runway lights

Lights, camera, action on the Queenstown Airport runway: from left - Airways’ Queenstown Tower Chief Controller Clayton Lightfoot; Airways Chief Operating Officer Pauline Lamb, Minister of Transport Simon Bridges, Queenstown Airport CEO Mark Edgill, and MP for Clutha-Southland Todd Barclay.

Lights, camera, action on the Queenstown Airport runway: from left – Airways’ Queenstown Tower chief controller Clayton Lightfoot; Airways chief operating officer Pauline Lamb, minister of transport Simon Bridges, Queenstown airport CEO Mark Edgill, and MP for Clutha-Southland Todd Barclay

The new runway lights in Queenstown, a key milestone in getting the New Zealand airport ready to receive after-dark flights have been unveiled.

The runway, taxiway, approach and apron lights that will soon greet pilots and passengers flying into Queenstown Airport after darkness, have been signed off by Airways New Zealand and the regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) subject to flight tests by airlines and final acceptance by Queenstown Airport.

Airways chief operating officer Pauline Lamb said enabling evening flights into Queenstown is critical to the region’s tourism development and will unlock wide economic benefits.

“Air services are vital to New Zealand’s economy, with 99% of our international visitors arriving by air. Flights operating into and out of Queenstown after dark will have a significant positive impact on travellers and local businesses, with weekend breaks and return day trips becoming more viable and providing flexibility for visitors,” Ms Lamb said.

“Queenstown Airport, Airways New Zealand and our contractors have all worked hard to deliver this critical infrastructure upgrade in time for the busy winter 2016 season.”

Airways’ $1.65 million airfield lighting project is part of a wider $19.6 million Queenstown airport runway infrastructure upgrade, carried out over the past six months.  This has involved widening the runway from 30m to 45m and resurfacing it with a 110mm asphalt overlay.

About 200 lights have been installed or repositioned, including Precision Approach Path Indicator lights (PAPI) lights, and touchdown approach, runway centreline, runway edge and threshold lights.

Airways engineers and lighting technicians have fully tested the runway, taxiway, approach and apron lights, via ground and air, over the past two weeks. The lights are now approved to be put into service, subject to airlines undertaking their own test flights. These test flights are currently underway.

Both the runway and airfield lighting upgrades were key conditions set by New Zealand’s CAA and Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) when approving the airport’s evening flights safety case in 2014.

Posted in Airports, CAAs/ANSPs, News

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