09 July 2024

Masterton Still on the Cards


A risk of “inclement weather” delayed major works at Hood Aerodrome, setting the runway’s completion back six months. Although this has also pushed back the plans of a regional airline to set up in Masterton, work to achieve certification at the airport has been brought forward, the council says. A $17 million upgrade was underway at Masterton’s airport in preparation for a possible commercial air link between Wairarapa and Auckland. Air Chathams chief operating officer Duane Emeny said the company had been keen to “start something [in Masterton] in November this year”, but that was no longer possible due to delays. Masterton District Council chief executive Kym Fell said the upgrade to the runway had been delayed due to “inclement weather affecting the contractor”. “This has created a domino effect of delays which is outside of council’s control,” he said. “The physical works are now due to be completed in November 2024, impacting our ability to achieve Civil Aviation Authority certification as early as we might have expected.” Emeny said the delay was a “bit of a shame”. “But we will let Masterton District Council get on with their work and see what the new year brings for the Wairarapa and potential reinstatement of air services.” The venture remains dependent on achieving an acceptable RESA (runway end safety area regulations) and the council achieving CAA certification. A council spokesperson said they were advised in May by the contractor that there was a “very high risk of the asphalt not meeting the contracted quality requirements due to expected colder temperatures in June/July”. The temperatures in June were warmer than average, and rainfall much lower than average, MetService told the Times-Age. As a result of the warning from the contractor, the council implemented a back-up plan to seal the new parts of the runway with prime coat, to make sure the airport remained operational over winter. CAA Certification was required before an air passenger service could operate at Hood Aerodrome. An application for certification was originally planned for July 2025, but Fell said it would now be lodged this month. “If granted, certification can be expected to be conditional on completion of physical works,” he said. A runway lighting upgrade was also required before Hood could be fully certified and this work was on track. Air Chathams initially put a bid in for the route after Air New Zealand announced its permanent departure from Masterton 10 years ago but was unsuccessful, losing out to Vincent Aviation Australia — a venture that failed after the company went into receivership. Four years ago, Air Chathams was asked if it wished to service the region but had to decline because the aerodrome wasn’t certified for the 34-seat Saab aircraft the airline operates. Fell said while the council continued to work closely with Air Chathams, “it is important to highlight that any commercial airplane under 30 seats can operate out of Hood Aerodrome in its current form”. The complexities surround larger aircraft looking to land, due to runway length limitations. The purpose of the council’s $17m project is to transform Hood Aerodrome into a more modern, functional airport and centre for aviation activity, with capacity for growth beyond the current activity. Of the total budget, $10m was funded from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund.

Source : https://www.thepost.co.nz/nz-news/350335104/airport-upgrade-not-plane-sailing


  1. Interesting move on the part of Air Chathams still pushing for growth when they are struggling to maintain what they have going for them right now.

  2. They might have spare capacity with the fleet and crew available wanting more flying hours.