The ongoing success of Hawke’s Bay Airport as a regional gateway and economic enabler has required the airport to apply for an expansion of its permitted noise boundaries. Hawke’s Bay Airport chairman Tony Porter said the airport is undergoing its most exciting period of transformation in history, but this comes with growth challenges.
Mr Porter said record passenger numbers generated by increased flights by Air New Zealand and the introduction of new carriers Sounds Air and Jetstar has the airport company undertaking important strategic measures to ensure it continues to meet ongoing demand.
The airport is a significant enabler of the regional economy. A recently released economic assessment report by m.e consulting has revealed that by 2040 the total effects of airport facilitated activities are estimated at between $3.2bn and $5.5bn.
“The Airport has a responsibility to the region to ensure that it is prepared for the future growth that is anticipated. “A failure to address the airport’s contours could ultimately result in a situation where it was unable to accept additional services in and out of Hawke’s Bay. If we want to avoid this we have little option but to address this issue now,” Mr Porter said.
The current Airport Noise Boundary in the City of Napier District Plan was based on predicted airport noise out to 2010, which is seven years ago. This modelling period has now passed, and although the airport is currently operating within the existing boundary, the recent growth experienced has accelerated the need to update the model. This will serve to future proof the airport’s ability to respond to the region’s growing demand for air travel.
The airport has recently completed consultation with a wide range of stakeholders including nearby residents in relation to its proposed submission to expand its noise contours. This included a letter and invitation to all residents within the proposed expanded contours to attend a consultation session at the airport to explain what is proposed and how this may affect them. Consultation sessions have also been held with local iwi, The Department of Conservation, The Ahuriri Estuary Protection Society and the Airport’s neighbouring properties.
“We have met with an extensive number of impacted parties and they have been very understanding of the key issues. We will continue to inform them throughout the process,” Mr Porter said.
Last month the Hawke’s Bay Airport Company announced a record profit of $1.7m on a turnover of $6.1 million for the year ended June 2017, as well as achieving all its financial performance targets. Aircraft movements increased by 11 percent on the previous year to a total of 14,256 with 652,426 passengers for the full year, a 15 percent increase (85,995 passengers).
“Passenger numbers have grown by 37 percent over the last two years and although we don’t anticipate that type of growth ongoing, we are projecting average year-on-year growth of around 4.5 percent. With the support of a team of experts we have modeled this growth assumption to generate a projected noise boundary out to 2040.
“It’s also important that our noise boundaries are up-to-date and consistent with the relevant New Zealand standards. This not only future proofs the airport’s ability to respond to growth but also ensures that local residents are aware of the noise effects that are anticipated,” Mr Porter said.
Already this year the airport has announced a multi-million-dollar investment in a major terminal expansion, constructed additional car parking and partnered with NZTA for a new entranceway and roundabout at Watchman Road.
The Airport is preparing to lodge a Plan Change submission with the Napier City Council over the coming weeks.