Airport Runway Extension Proposal

4 February 2014

Wellington City Council is proposing to develop a runway extension at Wellington Airport as part of the city’s Growth Agenda. This will facilitate more international arrivals and departures and support the central and lower North Island’s land transport connections; allowing Wellington to be more accessible and ‘open for business’.

View of Wellington airport from the sea.

Wellington Airport


We know that we must investigate extending the runway. The current runway, at just over 2km, is too short to deal with large, long-haul aircraft. A runway extension would allow larger planes to fly direct to and from Asia and North America and mean one-stop flights to and from other destinations that haven’t been able to access Wellington directly before.

A survey commissioned by the Wellington Chamber of Commerce of Wellington’s businesses found that the airport’s limited international capacity is perceived to be the biggest obstacle to the region’s economic potential.

Good business planning means investigating if these things really are possible and the extent to which they are. The Council has committed $1 million to fund the resource consent process. It will look at all the essential issues – planning consents, environmental impact, the likelihood airlines would fly to and from Wellington – as well as inform the business case and funding for the required construction work.

Local business leaders have reiterated their support for investigating a runway extension as part of the airport’s Long Term Plan. Other mayors in the region also support investigating the extension.We agree with Wellington’s business community – it is worth taking a serious look at the extension. And the time is right – if work starts on a second Mount Victoria tunnel in a few years’ time, we need to be considering the big picture for the region’s long-term infrastructure requirements now.

8 Ideas: why Wellington needs a runway extension

Over the next few weeks we are profiling the 8 Big Ideas and giving Wellingtonians an insight into the thinking behind the Growth Agenda. An airport extension will give Wellingtonians direct links with the rest of the world. It will make Wellington truly accessible.

A runway extension will:

  • strengthen the education and tourism sectors
  • help provide fresh input to the business and creative communities
  • boost productivity
  • further improve our liveability and resilience as a city
  • provide more options for moving freight
  • support the development of our infrastructure
  • support the growth of our city and region.

For more information, see:

News - 8 big Ideas For Economic Growth - 27.01.14