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Airport doing right thing over runway, says Chamber

The withdrawal by Wellington Airport of its resource consent application for the runway extension is disappointing but understandable in light of the time frames involved, says Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

"I can see why the airport has chosen to do this at this time, and I’m pleased they remain committed to the project and intend making a fresh application early next year.

"They’re doing exactly the right thing by withdrawing the application so they can apply the latest modelling to get the runway safety configurations right. Safety must always be the priority.

"The region’s business community remains firmly behind the extension and the opportunities for the region’s economy presented by the bigger aircraft and the new international links they would bring.

"In one Chamber survey of members, 59 per cent of respondents said an extension would benefit their business directly, 88 per cent said it would benefit businesses in the region, and 89 per cent said it would benefit the region as a whole.

"The vast majority of our members have always seen the greatest economic benefit from a runway extension coming from three key areas: export markets, tourism, and international students.

"This is backed up by an economic impact report that pointed to the potential of 125,000 extra visitors a year and a net benefit to the region of up to $1.5 billion.

"They're compelling numbers, and business backs Wellington Airport to push on with the process.

"Wellington Airport continues to demonstrate exactly why it has the confidence of business. These delays haven’t stopped them from getting on with investing in and improving their infrastructure. We’ve seen real progress, with the new car park building, hotel, and terminal extension - projects that will have direct and flow-on economic benefits for the city. It’s an example that our city and region’s leaders should take note of."

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