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Mangere Airport Issues Validate Whenuapai

Mangere Airport Issues Validate Commercial Airport At Whenuapai

The promoters of a commercial airport at Whenuapai say reported comments by Auckland International Airport Ltd following the release of their increased profits demonstrate the desirability of the Whenuapai concept.

While Auckland Airport announced stellar profits, airport users were grumbling about congestion and inconvenience, says Bryan Mogridge, Chairman of Waitakere City Council's Mayoral task force on Whenuapai.

"Auckland Airport CEO, Don Huse, asserted there are "substantial subsidies from Government agencies" for regional international airports while calling for someone (presumably a Government agency) to improve land access to Auckland Airport.

"Auckland Airport is a very effective part of Auckland's transport infrastructure, but it makes no contribution to Auckland's roads, which it now wants someone else to upgrade.

"Whenuapai Airport on the other hand will reduce Auckland road congestion by stimulating job growth in north and west Auckland and by bringing airport services closer to the front doors of 500,000 Aucklanders."

Waitakere City Council and its partner Infratil Ltd have provided further information to the government departments that are undertaking a review for Cabinet of the feasibility and merits of retaining and developing Whenuapai Airport to accommodate commercial air services.

A decision by Cabinet is anticipated in early October and it is hoped that the next step will be for Waitakere and Infratil to be invited into discussions about how the Airport's development can be bough about.

"Auckland Airport's antagonism towards Whenuapai is that of a monopolist facing a bit of healthy competition," says Mr Mogridge. "Their assertion that Whenuapai should be closed and sold as lifestyle blocks is preposterous.

"The Government's sale proceeds from destroying the existing airport and seeing the land sold for lifestyle blocks would only be a drop in the bucket towards the new roads Auckland Airport feels should be provided to enable it to grow and which it wants tax payers to finance.

"Whenuapai has a much greater value to Auckland as an airport than it could possibly have in any other use."

Mr Mogridge noted that Auckland Airport's largest shareholder, Auckland City Council, supports the Waitakere/Infratil proposal so it clearly sees greater benefits to its ratepayers from Whenuapai's development than cost from any adverse impact on the value of its interest in Auckland Airport.

"Later this month Don Huse is to address a Tourism Auckland gathering with a speech entitled "An International Airport at Whenuapai? Let's get real!"

"Mr Huse is out of date. There has been an international airport at Whenuapai for many years, it just currently doesn't accommodate commercial flights and is reserved for military use. He should change the topic of the speech "An International Airport at Whenuapai? It's already there and will be of real value to Auckland.

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