11 Mar, 2021 10:15 am

The mystery of $75m for the airport

Scoop Wellington provides news and views from Wellington, New Zealand

Scoop Wellington City Councillor Tamatha Paul was successful in leading the charge to remove $75 million for the Airport which had been in the council’s long term plan.The Brown email reveals the following: The original provision in the earlier plan was for the Council to provide $75 million for the runway extension – which, Brown is at pains to point out, is a project requested by the Council under Mayor Wade-Brown.The substantial investment forecast was not a sticking point as, at that time, all parties appreciated the necessity” [Annual report page 43] Removing $75 million from the LTP – where as Brown says it was only a contingency provision waiting for a business case – leaves two questions unanswered: What will WIAL actually need?In the Infratil annual report for 2020, the company reported that the WIAL airport masterplan requires an investment of $1 billion over the next decade; and also reported that prior to the covid-19 lockdown: ” Aeronautical prices for the FY20-24 years were determined following constructive consultation with the airlines, overseen by the Commerce Commission.

Now there are three matters – [1] seawall protection [2] changes in runway requirements due to larger aircraft and [3] what he now calls the “extension of the runway operation and safety length” to allow long distance overseas flights.Exemptions include the taxiway being closer to the runway than the permitted standard (significant with larger aircraft which may well be domestic as it may not be possible to use the taxiway when a large aircraft is on the runway and vice versa); grand-parented rights include the under-size safety ends.

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