Wellington Airport in Expansion Mode
By David Pine
On every day of every year, some 1300 of the passengers who take off from Wellington Airport, transfer to a long haul flight out of either Christchurch or Auckland. This is the major reason why the Wellington Airport company is planning an extension to their runway.
Speaking at Plimmerton Rotary on 29th July, airport CEO Steve Sanderson was passionate about the need for the airport to expand and renovate. Besides the runway extension, current plans included a major revamp of the main terminal. This would see a 35 metre addition to the southern end of the building; a doubling in width of the Air New Zealand departure lounge area; rearrangement of the interior to enable visitors to see through the building from one end to the other; and a new multi level hotel at the end of the international terminal. Work was expected to commence in October of this year.
Mr Sanderson spoke about the difficulties of the site. “We have our entire operation sitting on about 110 hectares of land, whereas Christchurch and Auckland airports each have about 1600 hectares. This gives them far more flexibility to grow and develop. We will need to increase car parking at our airport, and the only way to go is up. Each additional park will cost us about $40,000 to build.”
Calling Wellington Airport “The Engine Room of the Region”, Mr Sanderson explained that the planned 300 metre runway extension would be built at the southern end, out into Cook Strait. “We will obtain fill from Wellington port company Centreport, who have plans to dredge the mouth of Wellington Harbour to make it deeper. The rock they will be taking out of that area just happens to be an ideal material for the foundation for our new runway.” Environmental issues caused by the change in shape of the coastline would be comprehensively researched and addressed.
The extended runway would not be long enough to handle Boeing 777’s on full load, or any other aircraft of equivalent or larger size. “We are targeting long haul flights using the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus of similar size which is called the A350. These aircraft each carry about 220-300 people depending on how they are configured. They have the ability to fly non-stop to centres such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, China, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.
“It is estimated that each long haul route that we are able to establish will generate revenue of around $55 million per year to the economy of Wellington and its catchment area, which extends from Wellington to New Plymouth and Hawkes Bay.” Research by aviation experts Intervista had demonstrated that Wellington could support between 4 and 6 long haul routes into Asia.
Mr Sanderson felt that the extended runway would be no more challenging for pilots landing on windy days, compared with landing on the existing runway. “But there is one very positive thing that comes out of this. Conditions at Wellington Airport will continue to demand that pilots give 100% attention when they land here !”
Exchange Student: We welcome Jessica Nussel our exchange student who has recently arrived from Switzerland. We were hoping to meet Jessica last night but unfortunately she was not well so we look forward to meeting her next week.
Please take time to get to know Jessica and be sure to include her in one of your family activities during the year.
National Science and Technology Forum: McAulay is looking for a Year 12 student to attend the National Science and Technology Forum in Auckland next year. Click here for more information, including an application form in pdf. High schools in the area have been approached but if you know of anyone who may be interested please contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org
Next week's Guest Speaker: Next week our guest speaker will be Sir Robert Jones who will be speaking on the topic “Myths about Muldoon”. This is a Partners night and you will be rung to confirm numbers. This is also an opportunity to make 25 Rotarians from Rotary Club of Tawa very welcome.
Rotary Institute/District 9940 Conference: On 5-7 December 2014 Wellington will host the Rotary Institute/ District 9940 Conference. There will be no Conference for District 9940 in 2015. This is it! The 2015 Conference has actually been brought forward December 2014 to merge with the South Pacific Institute and it is all happening here in Wellington. This is a wonderful opportunity to be involved with Rotarians from all over the world. Check out this event and register here now.