Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaking at the new Nelson Airport opening on Saturday. Photo: Jonty Dine.

New airport ‘magnificent’

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Nelson Airport’s new terminal reflects what Nelson is as a region, says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

“It’s a magnificent place, and that’s not something you can say about all New Zealand terminals,” she told the airport’s official opening on Saturday.

Jacinda says she loves airports, not because of the planes but because of the people.

“It’s a symbol of connection and lets us maintain links with one another which is vital to our prosperity and well-being.”

She says the terminal is a place that visitors will remember and Nelsonians can take pride in.

Designed by Studio Pacific Architecture and built by Naylor Love, in partnership with Gibbons Construction and Fulton Hogan, the airport terminal caters for growth in excess of 50 per cent of the current one million passengers who have passed through the facility in the last year.

More than twice the size of the previous terminal, the new building has an indoor luggage carousel and offers more seating, airline lounges, conference rooms, toilets and retail spaces.

The number of car parks has also increased, from 600 to 900.

The new building has a distinctive local feel, with most of the timber and steel used in the construction sourced from Nelson Tasman.

Air New Zealand head of tourism and regional affairs Reuben Levermore says the new terminal is fantastic for the airline and the entire region.

“Nelson has become a key port on the Air New Zealand network. Over the past five years, seats on our services have increased by more than 140,000 on Nelson routes, strongly supporting the case for a redeveloped terminal.”

He says the terminal will provide an excellent experience for customers and sets the airport up well for future growth.

“We’re also looking forward to opening a new Air New Zealand regional lounge at Nelson Airport before Christmas.”

Nelson Airport chief executive Rob Evans says the Nelson Airport continues to expand its services and increase its contribution to the region.

“The airport is the gateway to Nelson Tasman and has an important role in the region’s development and prosperity.”

The airport supports more than 30 businesses that contribute more than $80 million to the region’s GDP and employs 1,500 people.

“What’s most exciting is that the new terminal sets us up to welcome more passengers to our fast-growing region and keeps us moving towards not just being the most popular region, but to be the best regional airport in New Zealand.”