22 Sep 2012

Expansion at airport shows confidence in tourism - Minister

4:12 pm on 22 September 2012

The government says the opening of Queenstown Airport's expanded international arrival and departures hall, demonstrates optimism and confidence in an under-pressure tourism industry.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Bill English, opened the facility on Saturday afternoon, saying Queenstown continues to buck the trend in a tourism industry that is struggling.

The $4.3 million expansion is expected to handle a 17% increase in international arrivals over the summer months.

Queenstown Airport Corporation's chief executive, Scott Paterson, says the airport was designed to cope with 700,000 people a year, however well over a million passed through in the previous 12 months.

Earlier this week Jetstar announced it was adding services to Australia, while Virgin Australia is also increasing flights.