Nelson Airport, which was built in 1974, is set to be redeveloped as the terminal accommodates increasing passenger numbers. The project will begin later this year and the funding will come from Nelson Airport Ltd with external funding. It is expected to take about 24 months to complete.
In the last financial year, the number of passengers passing through the airport was 865,000, although it is expected to hit 1.4 million a year by 2035. The new facility will offer more space for seating, retail, lounges and toilets, along with a larger area for car parking. The design of the terminal is ‘modular and flexible’ so it can be easily scaled if the number of passengers is more than the predicted number.
Rob Evans, Nelson Airport’s CEO, said: “This is a very exciting step in the evolution of Nelson Airport and its role as the gateway to our region. We’ve used the latest industry best practise techniques to determine how this facility works for passengers and its operators, and as a result have created a plan that will see every element of the airport design improved.
“Visually it will be magnificent; locally sourced timber products, floor to ceiling windows, a spacious open plan style and a unique roof design will all work in harmony to make this space feel very special and reflect the beauty of the region. Functionally we will increase car parking by 300 spaces to cater for 900 vehicles and create more room for taxis, buses and rental cars. We’ll have a much more intuitive layout for passengers with an increased check-in area and departure lounge, new retail space, double the number of toilets and more food and beverage offerings.”
Grant Kerr, Jetstar’s Head of New Zealand, said: “Nelson is one of our most popular regional destinations and we fully understand the airport’s need to build a terminal that can cope with the significant growth in passenger numbers. We’re working closely with Nelson Airport on the design concept to ensure it meets our operational and cost requirements.”
Outdated current terminal
Nelson MP Nick Smith also praised the redevelopment plans, saying the current terminal is outdated: “Our airport is booming with a forecast of passenger numbers reaching one million within two years. The current terminal has passed its ‘use by’ date, is overcrowded and in urgent need of redevelopment.
“This new terminal at $32 million is a major investment in our transport and tourism infrastructure. Other regions have had to contribute to the costs of a new terminal through their rates or with a departure tax. It is a credit to the two Councils and the Nelson Airport company that it is run so commercially successfully that it does not require either a ratepayer subsidy or departure tax.”