Airport spreads wings
The first stage of a $20.2 million project to expand Hawke’s Bay Airport will be ready to welcome passengers to the region in the new year.
Hawke’s Bay Airport chief executive Stuart Ainslie says the finishing touches were being made to the new arrivals hall, which would include the airport’s first automated baggage system, with the capacity to deal with 2.5 million bags a year.
The 14m conveyor was supplied by Ansir Systems. Stuart says stage 1 could have opened before Christmas, but given it was the airport’s busiest period, it was better to open it to the public on January 15.
“We’re now doing the internal fit-out, but it’s important that we don’t create any unnecessary stress at this time of the year for passengers, visitors and our commercial partners.
“The new arrivals area is in the new-build part of the airport which has enabled the current airport to operate smoothly without disruptions, so it’s best we continue as is.
“We can open when it’s a bit quieter and if there’s any problems we can resolve these without too much pressure.”
The airport recently announced a record turnover of $6.6m and annual passenger numbers of 715,000, up 8 per cent on a rolling year. The continued growth and confidence enabled the terminal upgrade to be revised from 2500sq m to 4340sq m, a 74 per cent increase including new commercial/retail opportunities within the terminal at a budget of $20.2m.
“We have been able to finance the expansion from our strong balance sheet, which is a great position to be in.”
Stuart says, along with the baggage reclaim system, the new arrivals hall would incorporate rental car kiosks and a pop-up cafe.
There would be no direct access from the new arrivals hall to the departures area of the terminal during the next stage of construction.
While it was “very exciting” to open the first stage of the terminal, it represented less than 20 per cent of the total floor space that would be expanded. The full airport expansion project would not be revealed until the final stage of the redevelopment was complete in mid-2020.
“We’re spreading the airport’s wings and we want to deliver a place that provides visitors with a true taste of Hawke’s Bay.”
Hawke’s Bay Airport chief executive Stuart Ainslie and commercial manager Dean Smith in the airport’s new arrivals hall, a key feature of which will be a new automated baggage system.