02 March 2010

Paraparaumu Airport Upgrade for Q300 service

Source : http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/local/3391783/Airport-revamp-for-Auckland-flights-gets-liftoff

An upgrade of Paraparaumu Airport will begin this week to prepare for four proposed daily Air New Zealand flights to Auckland.

An $800,000 upgrade of the main runway is needed to prepare for the service which is expected to start about October.

Airport chief executive Steve Bootten said tests were being carried out this week before the main runway was resealed. "The runway has slumped in places over time. We are issuing a $40,000 contract this week to remove all the lichen on the runway before resealing and are confident and pushing ahead in anticipation of Air New Zealand starting the new service around October."

He expected to announce the start date within the next month.

The Paraparaumu to Auckland flight service is expected to offer four return flights a day to Auckland – two early morning, one at lunchtime and one in the late afternoon. Air New Zealand planned to use 50-seater turboprop aircraft for the service.

"That is 1000 people flying into Kapiti every week to service the business market and foster tourism, which must bring new business to the area," Mr Bootten said. The early-morning and late-afternoon flights would cater for business trips, and the lunchtime one would be more tourism-related.

If the Auckland service proved successful, Christchurch flights would be added, he said.

Concept drawings had also been completed for a half-million dollar temporary terminal, which would feature a "fun, eclectic" theme with beach umbrellas and maybe an old aeroplane in a hangar-shaped building which is expected to be completed within six to eight months.

A service to Auckland and Wairarapa was ditched about 10 years ago because of lack of patronage.

Coastlands Flight Centre spokeswoman Melissa Dodson said she had had keen interest in the new service. "There is certainly a lot of `wouldn't that be good?'. I think people would use it. It is a suburban airport and some people do not necessarily want the big planes in," she said.

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