Activity has started at Nelson Airport as it gears up for the biggest redevelopment project in its history.
In August 2016 Nelson Airport released its plans for a new terminal building and associated infrastructure upgrades that will take approximately 24 months to complete. The new terminal will cater for growth projections out to 2035, when 1.4 million passengers a year are forecast to pass through the facility.
As part of an early works package to prepare for the redevelopment, 250 new public and staff carparks have been created at the west end of the airport behind HNZ Global that will help the facility cope with the unprecedented year on year growth it is experiencing. Nelson Airport has also established new management offices behind HNZ including additional meeting rooms and office space to cater for the demands over the construction period.
The first stage of the redevelopment has begun with the relocation of the air traffic control tower. The new tower will be built at the east end of the airport, with piling work expected to start in the next month. There will be little disruption experienced by customers using the airport during this initial stage of activity, though it is likely that some of the construction work, like the piling, will generate some noticeable noise.
Owned and managed by Airways NZ, the new air traffic control tower will support Nelson Airport’s growth with continued safe and efficient air traffic services, and is due to be commissioned in late 2017. Gibbons Construction has been selected to build the tower.
Nelson Airport is about to issue the tender for the relocation of critical services, and a contractor is expected to be selected before the end of the year. This will see activity around the laying of services under the existing carpark area in early 2017. This work could cause some minor disruption to users of the airport, but it is not expected to have any impact on the day to day running of the facility. Nelson Airport Chief Executive Rob Evans says the project is progressing well and it is imperative the services works and new tower construction started early to get ahead of the terminal development works.
The main tender process for the terminal construction contract will happen in early 2017, with work expected to commence in April 2017. This construction phase is expected to last around 18 months and there will be varying degrees of disruption to users of the airport. There is a communications plan in place to ensure all users are made aware of any likely disruption and can adjust their travel plans accordingly.
“Nelson Airport is one of the country's busiest airports, with over 920,000 passengers in the 12 months to October 2016. Whilst that is exciting for our region, and a testament to the services provided by our airline partners, it also highlights the need to improve Nelson Airport to ensure we continue to provide the quality operations, services and infrastructure to cater for the growth. We’ve taken the first small steps towards full redevelopment work starting in early 2017, with an eye on minimising any disruption experienced by our customers. Obviously having ample car parking is a key part of that, as is ensuring that our operations team is in a position to carry on doing their job seamlessly throughout the redevelopment,” said Mr. Evans.