Planning is under way to expand the terminal building at Bay of Islands Airport near Kerikeri and to modernise facilities there. Owner and operator Far North Holdings hopes to start construction in the second quarter of next year if building consent is obtained and the tendering process is successful. Building work is expected to take about 10 months.
Passenger numbers 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.
Far North Holdings said this week that it was in the final stages of discussions with Air New Zealand and that its application for building consent would be submitted by the end of November. The project would be tendered in early 2017.
Far North Holdings chief executive Andy Nock and general manager Chris Galbraith are discussing provisional plans for the expanded airport with local stakeholders over the next two weeks.
If the project proceeds the expanded airport will have automated check-in, roomier departure and arrival areas, and a separate luggage collection area.
During construction the check-in and departures area would be moved into space currently used by the Bay of Islands Aero Club, Mr Nock said.
He said Air New Zealand’s withdrawal from Kaitaia had generated some additional passenger numbers at Bay of Islands Airport but most of the growth was due to an increase in tourism and business traffic between Auckland and the wider Bay of Islands region.
The growth was being enabled by the larger aircraft being operated by Air New Zealand on the Auckland-Kerikeri route and boosted by effective marketing, he 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, was also having an effect.
“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.
“I think anyone who’s used the airport in recent times can appreciate that.”
About Far North Holdings Ltd
Far North Holdings Limited (FNHL) is responsible for managing and operating the commercial activities of the Far North District Council. These include Port Opua, Bay of Islands Marina, Kaitaia and Bay of Islands Airports, Paihia Maritime Buildings and Paihia Wharf, Williams Road Car Park and the Kaitaia Education Campus.
Since 2005 all of FNHL’s trading surplus has either been distributed to the Far North District Council or reinvested in property and infrastructure within the Far North District. The Far North District Council estimates that without this financial contribution general rates would have been approximately four percent a year higher, each year, over this period.
FNHL’s mandate includes the support and development of economic activity in the Far North.