05 March 2011

Paraparaumu's Optimistic View of the Airport Development

Paraparaumu's airport upgrade has been doubled to cope with likely increased commercial flights to new destinations including Napier and tourist mecca Queenstown. The news comes as Paraparaumu Airport Ltd director Sir Noel Robinson revealed deals are imminent to fill a business complex creating about 300 new jobs. Sir Noel told the Kapiti Observer the number of flights out of the airport could rapidly triple after the start of services in October. New destinations could include flights from Paraparaumu to Queenstown as well as Napier and Christchurch, he said. Sir Noel is so confident in services expanding he has doubled the budget for a runway upgrade, starting this month, to $3 million to increase parking space for planes. "Air New Zealand are now talking a lot more flights, and they want it [Paraparaumu] as an alternative to Wellington when there's fog or rain, so we've decided to invest the extra $1.5 million." The planned airport terminal, now consented, will double in size to about 450 square metres to take the increased flights and passengers. The terminal will include a VIP room for passengers, a cafe, check-ins for Air New Zealand, Air2there and another air company that Sir Noel would not name. There will be a covered walkway to the tarmac, a drop-off carpark and $8-per-night long-term car park, and a covered baggage collection area. The airport terminal will be completed by the end of July, Sir Noel said. Sir Noel said there would be another 300 to 400 jobs created when an about 8000 square metre complex is built in the business park. Up to 20 businesses are currently looking at moving into the complex and deals will be signed as the development progresses. Air Nelson, an Air New Zealand subsidiary, will run 18 return flights weekly to Auckland from October 24 flying 50-seat Q300 aircraft. The upgrade means 70-plus seat ATR turbo-prop planes will also be able to run out of the airport. Sir Noel estimated about 500 new jobs could be created from the developments, including 70 new jobs at Mitre 10, businesses at the new building, the expanded terminal and staff required for the Aircraft Flight Information Service (AFIS) air control system. The AFIS system for the airport was required as part of CAA certification to gain the commercial flights. It will require an upgrade of the air control tower, previously revealed to cost about $500,000, and push up user charges at the airport. The airport pays for the control tower but airport users pay the operating costs of the system. Meanwhile work has started on a 500 metre dune-shaped sculpture running along Kapiti Rd in front of the airport, to be completed in several months. In a media conference in the control tower Sir Noel praised Otaki MP Nathan Guy, also present, for his help in getting the six-year project to its current stage. Sir Noel said the airport will also have a new name as part of the development and commercial flights. The change has been decided but he was not yet willing to go on the record with the new name.

PPQ-ZQN - yeah right!
PPQ-NPE - Sunair is already doing that
PPQ-CHC - cf. Associated Airlines

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