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Commercial Airport at Whenuapai is pie in the sky

Commercial Airport at Whenuapai is ' pie in the sky '

The air force move away from Whenuapai is set to take a big toll on the local economy, and there ' s serious doubts about the viability of a commercial airport on the site, says Helensville MP John Key.

" It is laughable to believe spending $25 million at Whenuapai will go anywhere near creating an alternative to Auckland airport. It would do little more than create a white elephant in West Auckland.

" Auckland airport has capacity to operate 24 hours, is building a second runway, and accommodates large commercial activities linked to its significant flight traffic and freight and maintenance operations, " says Mr Key.

" In contrast at Whenuapai, freight is a non-starter given it has a curfew at night and cannot handle international commercial jets. "

Mr Key says it is also extremely unlikely that Air New Zealand or Qantas will relocate any of their main commuter traffic into Whenuapai.

" Feeder traffic to provisional airports will stay at Auckland, as no-one will fly into Mangere from Wellington or Christchurch and then take a cab ride to Whenuapai in order to fly to the Bay of Islands.

" This begs the question, who or what would fly out of Whenuapai?

" The inescapable conclusion being, not the kind of airlines likely to create the 800 jobs Waitakere City Council are predicting, " says Mr Key.

" Coincidently John Howard has dismissed a second airport for Sydney, a city with three times the population of Auckland because, as he predicts, the increasing size of aircraft is likely to demand longer runways and fewer flight movements.

" What Auckland needs to do is fix the real problem, the roads and not waste money on an alternative second-rate airport, " says Mr Key.

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