Bay of Islands Airport terminal upgrade to get $1.7M from govt's provincial growth fund
By Sophie Boot
March 16 (BusinessDesk) - Bay of Islands Airport in Kerikeri's terminal upgrade will get $1.7 million of funding from the provincial growth fund, regional economic development minister Shane Jones has announced.
The government will work with Far North Holdings, the commercial arm of the Far North District Council which owns the airport, "to progress a detailed business case for the upgrade and – subject to that work and due diligence – will commit $1.7 million to the project", Jones said. Building consents have been lodged and are due at the end of next month.
The airport has up to five scheduled passenger flights a day to Auckland, and Far North Holdings hopes to start construction on an expanded terminal building by the end of April, with work to be completed by December, according to its website. The upgraded airport will have automated check-in, roomier departure and arrival areas, and a separate luggage collection area, it says.
"The proposal was identified as a key priority in the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan, which was launched in February 2016, and has received strong support from our national carrier Air New Zealand – the main user of the airport," Jones said. "The current terminal is not fit for purpose and does not meet Air New Zealand’s requirements, while growth in passenger numbers is also putting pressure on the existing facilities."
Jones said a new terminal would cater to visitor growth, and the project has "third-party funding and a clear rationale for central government funding." Approximately 96,000 people used the airport during 2017, and the airport said the second half of 2017 saw 6,000 more passengers move through the terminal than over the same period in 2016.
Air New Zealand has been operating an additional three flights a week between Auckland and the Bay of Islands since November, while it stopped flying to Kaitaia in 2015, which the airport said "has generated some additional passenger numbers but most of the growth is due to an increase in tourism and business traffic between Auckland and the wider Bay of Islands region."
"This is being enabled by the larger aircraft being operated by Air New Zealand on the Auckland-Kerikeri route and boosted by effective marketing," the airport said. "A close partnership between Air New Zealand and the Bay of Islands Marketing and Promotions Group, an organisation comprising local tourism and hospitality providers, is also having an effect."