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Hamilton runway extension approved


Friday 12th August 2011 1 Comment

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Hamilton airport has gained approval for an extension of about 800 metres to its runway, which could allow direct flights from the Waikato to Asia in future along with more trans-Tasman flights from the region.

The extension, estimated to cost between $22 million and $25 million, would lengthen the runway to nearly 3000 metres.

It would enable the airport -- owned by Hamilton City Council and Waipa, Waikato, Matamata-Piako and Otorohanga District Councils -- to pursue its vision of becoming a low cost secondary airport gateway into this country.

Chief executive Chris Doak said it was believed Hamilton would be able to offer an airport that was attractive to many international carriers with an extended runway.

But the goal was long term and "not going to happen tomorrow", with significant work needed to complete a business case and capital funding models.

The approvals, which were granted for 15 years, would allow the airport to begin to identify suitable partners to help make the project successful.

The next step for the airport was to examine and review all the conditions around the approvals and recommendations for the extension.

Mr Doak said there were clear parallels between the plans for Hamilton airport and the secondary airport models developed in other parts of the world.

Gold Coast’s approach to the Queensland market was particularly relevant given it had established a business case for secondary connection directly with Asia, despite being just an hour from Brisbane airport.

Hamilton airport said it could now move to develop a long term business case for its investment, and attract the necessary capital and airline capacity to enable it to occur.

A commercial viable business case was needed to go ahead with the extension, with the estimated $22m-$25m cost relatively low due to the flat land already owned by the airport.

Funding options would be presented to the shareholders and could include new or existing shareholder capital, and airport debt serviced by funds from new services. Airport and airline partnerships could also take the project forward.

Hamilton airport said it wanted to lessen its reliance on the volatile trans-Tasman market. A runway extension would enable wide-body jet aircraft and long-haul flights to be accommodated, opening up new markets beyond the Tasman, particularly to Asia, along with the ability to have unrestricted passengers and freight into all of Australia.

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Comments from our readers

On 13 August 2011 at 11:45 am Bruce said:
For goodness many "international airports" does this country need. The money would be better spent on finishing the high speed motorway from Hamilton to the airport.
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