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Saturday , September 23 2017

Christchurch airport’s new arrival

Record passenger growth at Christchurch Airport sees the airport company building a new Novotel hotel on campus by the main terminal, to open in March 2018.

Novotel Christchurch Airport will be designed by Warren and Mahoney Architects and be a quality and convenient offering for travellers through the airport.

Airport chief executive Malcolm Johns said the airport will invest around $80 million in land and improvements for the hotel development. He says the new hotel will be the second on the airport campus and is a direct response to airline and passenger inquiries for increased short-term airport accommodation.

“Many of our new Asian flights arrive in the evening, bringing visitors who have been flying for 12 hours or more,” he said. “They want to rest before beginning their exploration of the South Island and expect to be able to do that near the airport.

“Corporate and leisure travellers arrive here on trans-Tasman flights late at night, some around midnight, or leave early in the morning. In both cases, they expect to be able to stay overnight on the airport campus, within walking distance of the terminal. From the end of next year, many more will be able to do that.”

Senior vice president operations for AccorHotels New Zealand, Fiji and French Polynesia, Chris Sedgwick, said: “AccorHotels is proud to be working with Christchurch Airport to build a new Novotel hotel on the campus.

“The airport’s investment in new services and increasing airline capacity suggests the time is right for a new hotel in the precinct, particularly at a time when growing tourist numbers to New Zealand highlight the need for more accommodation.

“We continue to lead the hotel sector as an airport specialist, and as the largest operator of hotels in airport precincts in the Pacific region, we understand the specific needs of transiting short stay business and leisure travellers.”

Mr Johns said airport company (CIAL) staff working with airlines are regularly questioned about what hotel accommodation is being developed in Christchurch to fill the gap left following the quakes.

“Latest estimates from Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism suggest that Christchurch currently has about 800 hotels room fewer than what is needed to serve current tourism levels, let alone future growth. Our airline partners see the lack of new hotel accommodation as a big risk to them adding in any more services,” he said.

With new airline capacity adding around 10 percent (or 800,000) extra seats per annum at Christchurch, late last year CIAL began a feasibility study to consider building a 300-room hotel property on the campus. That study, market research and independent expert advice has informed the decision to start by building a 200-room hotel near the terminal.

“This year will see the airport handle an all-time record 6.3 million passengers – that’s 800,000 up on the post-quake low point of 5.5 million and 300,000 up on the previous all-time record of 6 million,” he said.

“We are expecting next summer to continue to reflect current growth trends and for more records to be set. This creates a great opportunity for the city’s tourism industry and for regional economic development across the South Island.”

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