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Queenstown Airport begins public consultation on changes to air noise boundaries

Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) has commenced a five-week public consultation which seeks the community’s feedback on proposed changes to the current air noise boundaries for Queenstown Airport.

The proposed changes affect both the designation for Queenstown Airport and the Queenstown Lakes District Plan.  They would help the airport facilitate a sustainable level of domestic and international air services to the region over the next 30 years while continuing to manage the effects of aircraft noise on the local communities.

There are three key areas of change: 

  • Changes to the Airport Noise Boundaries – The current noise boundaries allow for 21,000 scheduled aircraft movements* each year.  Current forecasts show this level of movements will be reached in the next 3–4 years.  The proposed expansion of the noise boundaries would allow the airport to sustainably plan for 41,600 scheduled aircraft movements (equating to around 5.1 million passenger movements) a year by 2045.
  • Changes to the Airport Designation - These changes would extend the airport’s commitments to mitigate the effects of noise over a wider area of land around the airport, in line with the proposed expansion of the noise boundaries.  The airport already has a well established programme to mitigate the current effects of aircraft noise on residents who live near the airport.  The airport team has been working with affected homeowners over the past several years on ways to mitigate noise including installing insulation, mechanical ventilation (such as heat pumps/air conditioning), double glazing and additional wall linings.  These measures, including offering to buy properties in certain circumstances, would be extended to additional properties which may be most affected if the noise boundaries change. 
  • Changes to the District Plan – The changes would provide for a new chapter for aircraft noise in the District Plan to bring all Queenstown and Wanaka Airport information together in one place. Updated rules are also proposed to discourage and avoid new “Activities Sensitive to Aircraft Noise” (ASAN) establishing within the noise boundaries and ensure that extensions or new builds in residential zones around the airport are built to a standard to mitigate the effects of aircraft noise. These are in line with the existing planning provisions and current NZ noise standards.

No change is proposed to the airport’s operating hours of 6:00am to 10:00pm.

Public consultation on the proposed noise changes opens on 17 July (today) and closes on 20 August 2018. 

QAC is hosting a series of drop-in information sessions around Queenstown over the next few weeks and encourages people to come along, find out more, ask questions and share their views either in person or online via

The online hub includes details of the drop-in sessions, summary document, detailed fact sheets, an individual survey, and a link to a detailed interactive map at showing where properties sit in relation to the current and proposed noise boundaries. 

Printed summary documents are also available at the drop-in sessions and from the information desk at Queenstown Airport, Queenstown Events Centre and the Council building on Gorge Road.  Homeowners affected by the proposal will receive information in the mail.

Colin Keel, Chief Executive of Queenstown Airport, says the airport is committed to working with its neighbours, the wider community, customers, airlines, general aviation operators and other stakeholders to help shape the development of Queenstown Airport and ensure a sustainable future for the region. 

“Queenstown Airport plays a key role in connecting our region with the rest of the country and the world.  The proposal to change the airport’s noise boundaries should advance this important conversation about our future. We appreciate that there will be differing views on the proposed changes so we encourage people to get involved and share their feedback with us,” he says.

Queenstown Airport’s current noise boundaries were first introduced in 2009 at a time when forecast growth was significantly lower than today.

“At the time it was anticipated then that the current boundaries would accommodate growth in aircraft movements up to 2037,” says Mr Keel.  “Our forecasts now tell us that we will likely reach the current noise boundaries in the next three to four years.  The simple reason is unprecedented and sustained resident and visitor growth to the region - past, present and future.”

Last year QAC released Queenstown Airport’s 30-Year Master Plan options for community discussion and feedback.  The extensive modelling and forecasting carried out as part of the work showed that scheduled passenger movements could reach 3.2 million by 2025 and 7.1 million by 2045.

“Air connectivity is vital to allow residents and visitors to travel in and out of the region.  Our view is that, with appropriate planning and effective efforts to manage growth and mitigate noise, planning for up to 5.1 million passenger movements (approximately 2.5 million visitors/residents) per year over the next 30 years would be a sustainable long-term growth option for Queenstown Airport. 

“Getting the right balance is essential.  We want to maintain the airport’s ability to grow and continue to support regional businesses and local communities, while taking effective steps to manage the effects of aircraft noise on residents and visitors to Queenstown,” says Mr Keel.

For more information or to join the conversation please visit