Airport expansion delayed

Construction of the proposed new terminal building at Bay of Islands Airport near Kerikeri has been pushed back a year to April 2018 to future-proof the airport against the potential introduction of new security requirements for domestic airports in New Zealand.

In light of the possible new requirements, airport owner Far North Holdings has had to review plans for the new terminal developed last year.

Far North Holdings CEO Andy Nock said it would have been possible to start construction later this year, but that would have meant significant disruption at the airport during the summer of 2017/2018, when traffic volumes peak.

“There’s no huge rush on this project so we’ve taken the decision to minimise the inconvenience to travellers by pushing our timeline back a full 12 months,” Mr Nock said.

This means construction is now scheduled to start in April 2018, with a view to completing the development by the start of December next year.

Passenger numbers at Bay of Islands Airport have grown by a third since Air New Zealand started flying larger aircraft on the Auckland-Kerikeri route, with a record 87,000 people flying into or out of the airport last year.

“We’re expecting traffic to continue growing by about 20 percent a year for the foreseeable future, with an equal mix between business and leisure travel,” Mr Nock said. “With these sorts of numbers it was essential that we did something to improve and streamline facilities at Bay of Islands Airport,” Mr Nock said.

“I think anyone who’s used the airport in recent times can appreciate that.”

If the project receives the consents it needs, the expanded airport will have automated check-in, roomier departure and arrival areas, and a separate luggage collection area.

During construction it’s likely that the check-in and departures area will be moved into space currently used by the Bay of Islands Aero Club.