Proposed new Queenstown Tarras airport needs "social licence"

Premium Analysis

There is the intention to build a new greenfield airport close to New Zealand’s ‘tourist capital’ region around Queenstown. The existing airport there is constrained by the local geography as much as anything else.

One of the chief motivators for the proposal, Christchurch Airport, which has bought the land, is that a longer runway would reduce both emissions and noise substantially.

Some commentators argue that rather than merely perpetuating the status quo where airport design and construction is concerned, some radical new thinking is required, based on lower tourist numbers in the future and longer stays (as well as the prospect of reduced tourist numbers and electrically operated drones).

Meanwhile the defenders of the status quo insist that airline passengers will return sooner than expected, and in numbers.

A local debate thus becomes a global one as industry leaders ponder the future.

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