Pas­sen­ger growth­drives newair­port ho­tel

The Press - Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

Anew Novo­tel ho­tel to be built at Christchurch Air­port re­flects record pas­sen­ger growth into Christchurch and the ex­pec­ta­tion that num­bers will con­tinue to grow.

‘‘FY16 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,’’ says air­port chief ex­ec­u­tive Mal­colm Johns.

The 200-room, 4.5-star ho­tel will open by the main ter­mi­nal at the end of 2017.

Novo­tel Christchurch Air­port will be de­signed by War­ren and Ma­honey Ar­chi­tects.

Johns says the air­port will in­vest $80m 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 says.

‘‘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 tran­sTas­man 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.’’

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 says.

With new air­line ca­pac­ity adding around 10 per­cent (or 800,000) ex­tra seats per an­num at Christchurch, late last year Christchurch In­ter­na­tional Air­port Ltd (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 en­cour­aged ini­tial de­vel­op­ment of a 200-room ho­tel near the ter­mi­nal.

Johns says more bud­get ac­com­mo­da­tion will also soon be avail­able at the JUCY Snooze back­packer the air­port is also build­ing, and which is well un­der­way at the air­port be­hind the new Spit­fire Square con­ve­nience re­tail precinct. He says that will of­fer 280 beds from Novem­ber this year, an in­vest­ment of about $10 mil­lion in land and im­prove­ments.

‘‘We are ex­pect­ing next sum­mer to con­tinue to re­flect cur­rent growth trends and for more records to be set,’’ Jones says.

‘‘This cre­ates a great op­por­tu­nity for the city’s tourism in­dus­try and for re­gional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment across the South Is­land.’’

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