An artist's impression of the Nelson Airport redevelopment.

Airport redevelopment takes off

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Activity has started at Nelson Airport as it gears up for the biggest redevelopment project in its history.

In August 2016 Nelson Airport released its plans for a new terminal building and associated infrastructure upgrades that will take approximately 24 months to complete. The new terminal will cater for growth projections out to 2035, when 1.4 million passengers a year are forecast to pass through the facility.

As part of an early works package to prepare for the redevelopment, Nelson Airport Chief Executive Rob Evans says 250 new public and staff carparks have been created at the west end of the airport behind HNZ Global that will help the facility cope with the unprecedented year on year growth it is experiencing. Nelson Airport has also established new management offices behind HNZ including additional meeting rooms and office space to cater for the demands over the construction period.

Rob says the first stage of the redevelopment has begun with the relocation of the Airport’s control tower. The new tower will be built at the east end of the airport, with piling work expected to start in the next month.

He says there will be little disruption experienced by customers using the airport during this initial stage of activity, though it is likely that some of the construction work, like the piling, will generate some noticeable noise. The airport control tower is managed by Airways NZ.

The contract for the construction of the new tower was awarded to Nelson construction firm Gibbons Construction and is due to be commissioned in August 2017.

Rob says the project is progressing well and it is imperative the services works and new tower construction started early to get ahead of the terminal development works.

The main tender process for the terminal construction contract will happen in early 2017, with work expected to commence in April 2017. This construction phase is expected to last around 18 months and there will be varying degrees of disruption to users of the airport. There is a communications plan in place to ensure all users are made aware of any likely disruption and can adjust their travel plans accordingly.

“Nelson Airport is one of the country’s busiest airports, with over 920,000 passengers in the 12 months to October 2016. Whilst that is exciting for our region, and a testament to the services provided by our airline partners, it also highlights the need to improve Nelson Airport to ensure we continue to provide the quality operations, services and infrastructure to cater for the growth,” Rob says.

“We’ve taken the first small steps towards full redevelopment work starting in early 2017, with an eye on minimising any disruption experienced by our customers. Obviously having ample car parking is a key part of that, as is ensuring that our operations team is in a position to carry on doing their job seamlessly throughout the redevelopment.”