The green light has been given to extend the Queenstown Airport runway, guaranteeing the international status of the gateway.
The Civil Aviation Authority has given the Queenstown Airport Corporation until 2011 to extend its runway, as part of new safety rules for international airports.
The location of Queenstown's runway between the Shotover River and Lake Wakatipu has been a problem.
Almost 1 million cubic metres of gravel now has to be built up on the Shotover River end of the runway to accommodate the extension.
Airport chief executive Steve Sanderson says the gravel, worth $7 million, will be gifted from the neighbouring Remarkables Park development.
Mr Sanderson says a previous plan to remove gravel from the Shotover River delta has been abandoned because several residents appealed against the consent and fighting that would waste too much time.
Work will begin on the project later this year.