Queenstown is gearing up for a bumper winter season with airlines pouring more seats into the resort town whose airport is erecting a marquee to handle the influx.

Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Qantas are putting on nearly 56,000 extra seats between Queenstown and Australia and the main centres in this country.

Alliance partners Air NZ and Virgin will operate an additional 40,000 seats to and from Queenstown over the peak winter period of July to September.

Transtasman seat capacity to Queenstown will increase by more than 12 per cent for the period as a result of up to five additional alliance services per week between Queenstown and Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.


Domestically, Air NZ will increase capacity to the region by 11 per cent from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch by using larger A320 aircraft on a number of existing services.

Jetstar is adding an extra 15,000 extra seats between Australia and Queenstown in July and August using 180-seat A320s.

Grant Kerr, head of Jetstar New Zealand, said Melbourne-Queenstown services would rise from four times a week to daily and Sydney-Queenstown from three to five per week.

Qantas will step up to daily flights from Sydney between July and October.

Scott Paterson, Queenstown Airport Corporation chief executive, said pressure on the arrivals area at the height of the ski season meant the company was putting up a heated marquee to house a second baggage claim area.

Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd said the airlines' additional capacity was significantly up on the usual winter boost.

Although there would be pressure on accommodation at peak times, "it's a good problem to have".

Latest figures from Queenstown Airport show that in the financial year to date the number of international passenger movements has grown 28 per cent to more than 225,000.