A North Island airport expansion is to be super-sized, months into construction, following fears the current plan will not cope with future demand.
Hawke’s Bay Airport’s terminal expansion was begun earlier this year as the region sought to accommodate burgeoning numbers of visitors to the popular wine region.
But part-way through the project, airport chief executive Stuart Ainslie said the budget had now been increased by $4.5 million to $20.2 million.
The project’s new scope means almost doubling the terminal’s size from 2500sqm to 4340sqm.
“The airport has reported strong passenger growth and we’ve also set a target of reaching one million passengers a year by 2025,” he said.
“The current expansion plan was set to cater for up to 800,000 passengers, which it was initially forecasted to hit in 2024, but has since been revised to 2020.”
Air New Zealand last week announced an additional twelve one-way flights between Napier and Auckland, while Origin Air said it would introduce new flights from Napier to New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Nelson.
Mr Ainslie has led the redevelopment of two international airports – Darwin in Australia and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.
He commissioned airport planning consultancy Airbiz to review the current terminal construction plans, the resulting report recommending upscaling to cope with continued passenger growth, potential new revenue opportunities and future security screening requirements.
“Based on the current ‘busy hour’ figures we are already at the anticipated capacity for when the redeveloped airport opens, so it’s important that we add additional floor space now,” said Ainslie.
The revised plans will push back completion date to the second quarter of 2020.
The increased investmommenced construction in January this year and the first stage, the reconfigured arrivals hall, will be completed and operational by late 2018.
The terminal has been designed in the shape of a Kuaka bird in flight by local architects PMA with supporting design inspiration from local artist and Mana Ahuriri representative Jacob Scott.
“It’s important that we incorporate a strong sense of place with reference to the Kuaka and reflecting the aspirationsent, funded by Hawke’s Bay Airport Limited, has been approved by shareholders Napier City Council, Hastings District Council and the Crown.
Arrow International c of Mana Ahuriri and Ngati Kahungunu Iwi aspirations,” said Ainslie.
“Our vision is to be the most vibrant and successful regional airport in New Zealand. We are also very aware of our environmental role in Ahuriri and surrounding areas and it’s important that we have an active environmental management plan.”
Arrow International’s Chris Goldsbury says the arrivals area will open as originally planned and that although the expansion had been upgraded, it didn’t create any problems.
“The team have made great progress so far. On many major construction projects you can expect variations and it’s far better to make the changes now, rather than towards the end.
“Arrow have been working very closely with airport staff, the project manager and sub-contractors, so it’s business as usual.”