10 August 2020

I hope it's not true...

Kāpiti Coast Airport faces possible closure with its owners “reviewing all options”, and word leaking out that it could shut by next month. National Party candidate for the Ōtaki electorate Tim Costley said he understood the airport’s closure was imminent. Stuff understands it could be within five weeks. The owner NZPropCo (NZPC) would look to rezone the land for residential development, Costley said. NZPC says no decision has been made to close the airport but it is “reviewing all options” in the face of economic and safety concerns. It says it is looking for the “best solutions” for the future. National Party candidate for the Ōtaki electorate, Tim Costley. Costley said the community fought hard to get continued air services such as Air Chathams and Sounds Air. It also had the thriving Kāpiti Aero Club, which would be "absolutely gutted". “The region needs an emergency airfield for when Wellington is fogged in, or during a civil defence emergency. Kāpiti would be a critical hub if a major earthquake was ever to isolate or cut off Wellington from the coast. The move was a kick in the guts for the community and Kāpiti Coast District Council would be "crucified” if it allowed the land to be rezoned, he said. Costley, a former airforce pilot, said he understood the owners would raise safety concerns about the departure of Airways flight information services from Kāpiti, but this was a “red herring”. Flights could safely continue with or without the services, he said. The airport was part of a nationwide property package, sold by the Todd Property Group to NZPC, a New Zealand-based investment group last November. An NZPC spokeswoman said the airport faced “significant economic viability issues”. The withdrawal of Air New Zealand flights in 2018 had a major impact – and Covid-19 had affected aviation worldwide. “Kāpiti Coast Airport is not immune to these and passenger numbers continue to decline.” She said safety was now also a significant concern for the airport with the announcement in April by Airways that it was removing flight information services from seven regional airports, including Kāpiti. This air traffic controller service started in Kāpiti after the 2008 mid-air collision that resulted in three deaths, she said. “We are therefore reviewing all options for the future of the airport.” NZPC had met the council “to seek their support and assistance to review how we can collectively identify the best solutions moving forward”. ”In the meantime the airport remains fully open and operational.” Kāpiti Coast mayor K Gurunathan said he was not aware of the potential closure of the airport. However, NZPC representatives met him the previous week for an “exploration meeting”.“They were saying they were interested in discussing with council, what they could do ... my challenge to them was this: if they are wanting to rezone the land, they will hit very strong public opposition.” If they threw out an “amazing” alternative plan for the land then they might win support, he said, but he doubted that was possible. Air Chathams general manager Duane Emeny said he was not aware of any potential closure of the airport. It would be concerning for Air Chathams if it was correct but “we haven’t had any notification at all from Kāpiti Airport yet”. Sounds Air chief executive Andrew Crawford also said they were not aware of any potential closure. He said the airport was important for the entire region during an emergency such as an earthquake. “To lose it as a strategic asset is unthinkable.” Todd Property bought a majority stake in the airport in 2012 from previous owner Sir Noel Robinson, who in turn had bought the airport in 2006, and planned to launch a business park development. The airport sits beside Kāpiti Rd, only a few hundred metres from a full interchange connecting north and south to the Kāpiti expressway. The expressway would connect to Transmission Gully, once completed, allowing four-laned travel to the Terrace Tunnel in central Wellington.

Source : https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/122391465/kpiti-coast-airport-could-be-closed-as-owner-says-theyre-reviewing-all-options


  1. I Remember.

    Who else remembers a certain MP of the early 70's expounding his ideas on why it should be closed at a public meeting in front of the old TWR in those days.
    Same place, same ideas, different reason. HMMM ? wonder if a large crowd of angry locals will see this one off with loud boos and slow hand clapping, just like back then. His meeting certainly came to a premature and red faced end.

    All the reasons against closure then are still just as valid today.

    The seismologists of today will still stand by the historical records, and probably with more certainty that its inevitable one day. If you live South, you are swimming home. If you live West,North or East you'll be walking.

    WHEN ? not IF . - unrestricted accessibility to Wellington post the big shake?? - not good odds if you are a gambler. Try Lotto,learn to fly and buy a chopper.

    This could be a very interesting thread to follow.
    Wonder if Central Govt Will take a position on this one..HMMMMM !!

    History has a habit of repeating in more ways than one it seems.

  2. The owners would make a handsome profit if all the land is made into residential sections. Just what was made at the Wigram air base almost $1 billion in sales not bad if they can get it rezoned up at PPQ!

  3. Chances of Kapiti DC changing its district zone plan (which would take ages even if it happened) to turn the airport into housing - zilch. Not one of them would be re-elected and they know it.

    Today in Stuff Emeny from Air Chathams opined that its a move to get the KDC to buy the airport off them and in his view no regional airport ever makes a profit so a bad fit for an investor company like the new owners. He also noted that several other airports including WAG which they operate into are wholey owned by the local council. He also noted that AKL-PPQ traffic post covid is showing the strongest rebound of all their routes.

    Crawford from Sounds Air made the somewhat controversial statement that PPQ will be safer without the FIS ...

    Both and the Kapiti Aeroclub reinforced the value of PPQ to WLG if the much predicted big shake occurs.

    I think Emeny is reading this right - time will tell.