Infratil told investors on Friday that it expects construction of an extension to the Wellington Airport terminal to start “shortly.” Its operational report for December and January confirms “marked congestion” in the terminal caused by high loadings on Qantas Tasman flights.
News from Infratil
Wellington Airport’s 2013 traffic of almost 5.5 million passenger movements was 3.5% ahead of 2012 or almost 190,000 additional passengers.
The reduction in Jetstar capacity on NZ domestic services last year has meant that current month on month comparisons are disappointing, but high aircraft loadings and announced service changes are expected to result in growth resuming shortly.
Wellington has benefited from the Qantas-Emirates alliance which is seeing more long-haul passengers travel to Wellington from east coast Australia rather than via another New Zealand airport. As a result Qantas’ Tasman loadings have been the highest of any of Wellington’s services and these were not affected by the service cuts announced last week by Qantas in Australia.
The additional traffic is causing marked terminal congestion. It had been planned
that work would already be underway on an expansion to facilities, but this was
delayed by extensive airline consultation. This is however now concluded and the final value-engineering of the project is occurring with construction expected to commence shortly.
Work concluded on changes to the road access to the terminal, but the inconvenience may be a precursor to the Airport’s next project to expand its domestic terminal. Rising throughput is requiring ongoing investment and while users will get a faster and better experience, construction has to happen first. The Airport is progressing almost $250 million of development plans at present; involving terminal expansion, car parks, a hotel and additional off-airport commercial property.
DomPost: Construction starting in August
Continued growth (from Infratil website)
Since 2003 the Airport’s domestic passenger numbers have risen 3% per annum, and international passengers 5% per annum. This rate of growth is projected to continue meaning that about 1 million more passengers are expected by 2017.There are, however, reasons why the next decade could see stronger growth. On the one hand New Zealand’s aviation market is being gradually integrated with Australia. A larger, more vibrant market is likely to result in a more diverse service offering and generally a more dynamic and competitive air travel market, which will attract more travel into and from the region. A second factor is the launch of the Boeing 787 jet. This relatively small, light aircraft would be ideal on services between Wellington and Asia. It would use the Airport’s existing runway and facilities, and its size suits the demand needs of those routes.