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New Zealand’s Queenstown Airport has switched on its new runway lights as part of plans to receive after-dark flights.

The lights were officially inspected and switched on by the country’s Minister of Transport Simon Bridges.

The new runway, approach, taxiway and apron lights will enable the operations of night flights.

These upgrades, which have been signed off by Airways New Zealand and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), are subject to flight tests by airlines and final acceptance by Queenstown Airport.

Airways chief operating officer Pauline Lamb said: "Air services are vital to New Zealand’s economy, with 99% of our international visitors arriving by air.

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"Flights operating into and out of Queenstown after dark will have a significant positive impact on travellers and local businesses."

"Flights operating into and out of Queenstown after dark will have a significant positive impact on travellers and local businesses, with weekend breaks and return day trips becoming more viable and providing flexibility for visitors.

"Queenstown Airport, Airways New Zealand and our contractors have all worked hard to deliver this critical infrastructure upgrade in time for the busy winter 2016 season."

Airways’ $1.65m airfield lighting project is part of a larger $19.6m runway infrastructure upgrade project at the airport, carried out over the last six months.

Nearly 200 lights have been installed or repositioned at its airfield.

This also includes Precision Approach Path Indicator lights (PAPI) lights, and runway centreline, touchdown approach, runway edge as well as threshold lights.

Over the last two weeks, engineers and lighting technicians have thoroughly tested the taxiway, approach, runway and apron lights both from ground and air.


Image: Queenstown Airport has switched on its new runway lights. Photo: courtesy of Airways.