Airport to become modern gateway
Work has started on the $32 million Nelson Airport redevelopment, which is set to transform the passenger experience in and out of the region.
Two and a half years of planning have gone into the final design, with meticulous care taken to ensure the revamped airport will serve as a premium gateway well into the future.
Along with a new terminal building, the project includes a new control tower, airport apron and new carpark facilities.
With the new control tower due to be completed in early 2018, work is now underway on the terminal’s first stage including construction of new car parks.
By mid-next year, the existing terminal building will be demolished. The entire project is expected to take around 18 months to complete.
In recent years, the airport’s existing terminal – built in 1974 – has struggled to keep up with high growth in passenger numbers.
There has been year on year growth of 25 per cent over the past two years and ongoing growth of eight per cent this financial year.
Nelson Airport has itself doubled its full-time staff over the past two years to try and keep pace with the growth.
“We’ve reached over one million passengers a year,” explains Nelson Airport Chief Executive Rob Evans.
“We’re the fifth busiest airport in New Zealand. “The existing terminal was only built to take a few hundred thousand passengers and is no longer fit for purpose.
“There have been only minor modifications over the past 40 years. “Likewise, car parking at the airport is no longer able to cope given the growth we’re experiencing,” Rob says.
Driving this growth is not only buoyant international tourism, but also rising domestic demand for short breaks and a strong local economy built on fishing and forestry. Auckland is Nelson Airport’s biggest market, followed by Wellington.
“The growth out of Auckland has been phenomenal, particularly since the arrival of Jetstar here in late 2015. We currently have 15 flights a day to Auckland.”
At twice the size of the existing terminal, the new building will be much more passenger-friendly with plenty of room for extra seats, spacious airline lounges and new retail and hospitality spaces. Airport carparks will rise from 600 to 900 with more room for taxis, buses and rental cars.
A future proofing design will cater for growth projections through to 2035. The modular terminal design also means it could be easily extended in future years.
Studio Pacific Architecture’s terminal design, which includes a unique roof structure that echoes the western ranges, reflects the region’s identity.
The new terminal will also showcase Nelson as the home of processed Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL).
“This will be New Zealand’s first timber airport terminal building, so it’s going to be unique – and it will use timber grown in our own forests, processed in our region.”
Next generation New Zealand earthquake proofing technology by Tectonus will protect the terminal structure from seismic events whilst seamlessly fitting into the design.As well, the design ticks all the boxes for functionality, intuitiveness and flexibility.
Once completed, passengers should be able to find their way around very easily, including to and from car parking. With construction now underway, the public is being kept updated with what’s happening on site.
“We are keeping things flowing as best we can and are working closely with the contractor, Naylor Love.”
No ratepayer money has been sought for the redevelopment, (being paid for by the airport company itself). Further growth across the board is expected from this exciting gateway project.
Both Air New Zealand and Jetstar have been closely involved and welcome the redevelopment.
“There is a massive opportunity here in terms of untapped potential for future growth.
“Being able to move people smoothly in and out of the airport is central to that; we’re proud to be involved with something so unique and important for this region.”