Air­port spreads wings

Napier Courier - - News -

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.

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