24 September 2019

Kaikōura Keen for an Air Service Again

A plan for growing Kaikōura's air services is well under way. The town's aerodrome was listed in a Kaikōura District Council document as a key development project, among others with the potential to boost growth in the district. The council, which owned the aerodrome, had now laid the groundwork for expanding emergency and passenger air services to and from the seaside town. It said the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake highlighted the need for greater resilience in air services. The Civil Aviation Authority has now granted approval for the aerodrome and heliport proposal that built on developing existing infrastructure, provided the council met certain conditions, such as improving some safety aspects of air operations. The Kaikōura deputy mayor, Julie Howden, said the council's "resilience package", included plans for the aerodrome after the quake proved it was a major transport hub. Commuter airline Sounds Air provided temporary services to and from Christchurch and Blenheim after the quake. Ms Howden said it was a great service - alongside that provided by the Kaikōura Aero Club, South Pacific Helicopters and Wings Over Whales, which proved the limitations of the aerodrome, and the need to develop it. "NCTIR (the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery alliance) also had an area to work out of, but another trigger for the aerodrome is our financial sustainability (project) which the government has helped to fund us. "The airport and harbour are areas we've looked into and done reports on. It's a mix of everything and looking into the future and what we think will be required." Ms Howden, said and she would like to see scheduled services continued, such as the emergency services set up by Sounds Air. "Down the road into the future, maybe it would be nice to have Sounds Air back, or a future alternative for tourists to fly in and fly out. "In saying that, the aero club and Wings Over Whales do currently provide charter services, but it would be nice to get slightly larger aircraft in here." She said there was some capacity to extend the runway, but beyond that, further expansion would encroach on private land. "I wouldn't like to comment on whether that could be done or not, but as I say, the Sounds Air Caravans were able to get in, but it wasn't ideal as they could have done with a bit more runway." Ms Howden said the council was not planning to build a new airport, given the cost, but wanted to develop what it had. The CAA said on completion of an aeronautical study, triggered by the council's application, that it was satisfied the proposed action would not impact the "safe and efficient use of airspace", but may affect the safety of people or property on the ground. It has instructed the council to provide the authority with an annual report of traffic volumes, to set up an aerodrome/airspace user group and develop an aerodrome operations manual. The CAA also instructed that helicopter take-offs and landings should be restricted to the two proposed new areas.

A history of Kaikōura airfield can be found here : http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2014/11/kaikoura-airfield-history.html

A history of Sounds Air's services to Kaikōura can be found here : http://3rdlevelnz.blogspot.com/2015/01/sounds-airs-kaikoura-service.html

Wrong setting on the camera so a little blurred... and if you think the runway is short it is... it is only 700 metres long and so Sounds Air took only a maximum of 10 passengers in or out.

The Kaikōura terminal

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