This is a simply beautiful landing into Queenstown, New Zealand.
Queenstown Airport (IATA: ZQN) is eight kilometres (five miles) from the centre of town. It is the country’s fourth busiest airport, handling around a million scheduled passengers per year. The Airport is served by Air New Zealand, Mt Cook Airline, Pacific Blue, Jetstar and Qantas. It has a lovely terminal building and a stunning vista! I have flown to Queenstown from Auckland and Christchurch. I have also driven there and taken the bus.
The Airport came seventh in PrivateFly.com’s 2011 survey to find the world’s best airport approaches. Unfortunately it did not make it into their 2013 list. After this landing, you may want to vote for the airport in the 2014 survey. The airport is also rated “Category X” in aviation circles making it one of the most difficult airports to fly into. The airport is located at the confluence of three mountain valleys and subject to strong and variable winds. The airport is 357 metres (1171 feet) above mean sea level. Its runway is 1777 metres (5830 feet) long and narrow at 30metres wide, compared to the usual 45metres. To add to the mix is the high amount of bird activity.
A decade ago the landing pictured above would have been impossible and the plane would have been diverted to another airport. They are now almost routine, using a digital GPS-based navigation system, called Required Navigation Performance (RNP). RNP was first designed by Alaska Airlines pilot Steve Fulton and developed by GE Aviation.