Extending Wellington's Runway

12 Feb 2018

Extending Wellington’s runway will enable long haul flights directly to and from central New Zealand, delivering significant visitor growth, business connectivity and more convenient, affordable long-haul services. This will be more important than ever to bring in visitors for the region’s existing tourism offering and developments in the pipeline such as the Convention Centre, Film Museum, Project Kupe, and the Porirua adventure park.

The most recent event for the runway extension project was the outcome of a Supreme Court hearing on how the regulatory requirements for runway end safety areas are applied by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Folliowing a High Court ruling in favour of Wellington Airport and the CAA, the Court of Appeal upheld a claim by the NZ Airlines Pilots’ Association that the Civil Aviation Authority did not correctly apply the rules on the runway end safety areas for the runway extension proposal.

The judgment on the subsequent appeal to the Supreme Court was delivered in December. While the outcome requires Wellington Airport to resubmit the proposal for the runway end safety area, we welcome the greater clarity the Court has provided and are developing the additional information the CAA must consider.

Safety is paramount to Wellington Airport and the Court has confirmed that Wellington’s current 90m safety areas are fully compliant with the Act and Civil Aviation rules. It is worth noting that prior to the establishment of the current CAA regulations in 2004, a number of airports including Wellington had no safety areas. At that time, Wellington sought the opinion of the CAA as to the required length. The CAA determined that 90m would be appropriate and the runway was lengthened accordingly in 2008.

At this point the Environment Court hearing for the runway extension consent application is on hold until the additional information on the safety area for the extended runway has been finalised and reviewed by the CAA.

We have a team which has worked hard to get the runway extension to this point and we’re committed to bring the project to fruition and deliver the benefits for the region and the country.