Airport Master Plan Welcomed by City Council

30 April 2009

Wellington Airport is set for significant growth and a consolidation of its critical role in the region's economy - and Wellington's Acting Mayor, Ian McKinnon, says the City Council will work to support the airport draft Master Plan announced today.

"The City Council fully supports the intent of the draft Master Plan - both from our perspective as a local authority and as a shareholder in Wellington International Airport Limited.

"The airport is essential to the well-being of the Wellington region and so the Council will support initiatives, most starting from 2015, to make the airport more accessible both internationally and locally.

"By 2030 the airport will directly contribute $1.6 billion per year to our region's economy - with a flow-on impact of $3.1 billion a year. It'll also support, directly or indirectly, around 21,000 jobs, including 11,500 new jobs. It's safe to say the airport will be a cornerstone of Wellington's growth as a modern, internationally-connected, economy in coming decades."

Cr McKinnon says a combination of roading and public transport improvements will, of course, be essential to match the $450 million expansion of the airport over the next 20 years.

The City Council has already recognised, through its participation in the Ngauranga - Airport Transport Study, that provision has to be made for convenient access to and from the airport for the estimated 10 million travellers - twice current numbers - who'll pass through the airport each year by 2030.

"That's why we agree with Wellington International Airport Ltd (WIAL) that such proposed New Zealand Transport Agency projects on State Highway 1 as the interchange beside the Basin Reserve, the widening of Ruahine Street and Wellington Road, and the duplication of the Mt Victoria Tunnel have to be given priority.

"The City is keen to work closely with WIAL to ensure the airport continues to be an effective international gateway to the region - for exports, tourism and for the convenience of the region's people.

"We all have to accept that the airport is a strategically essential destination in the city - and that road and public-transport capacity will have to be expanded without undue delay."

Cr McKinnon adds the Council is pleased to note WIAL's commitment to the development of a purpose-built public transport interchange at the airport.

He says eastern suburbs residents will also be pleased to learn that the doubling of passenger traffic through the airport does not also mean a doubling in flights - and increased noise. "The planned introduction of bigger aircraft for both domestic and international services means flight numbers won't be doubling.

"It's also comforting to know that modern aircraft are becoming progressively quieter."

Cr McKinnon urges Wellingtonians to take the opportunity to give feedback on the draft Master Plan. The consultation period will run until 30 August.