New Zealand's environmental court has given the go ahead for the redevelopment of a privately owned secondary airport at Wellington to make it suitable for scheduled commercial flights.

A coalition of residents who live near Paraparaumu Airport opposed the NZ$450 million ($304 million) redevelopment plan, saying it would cost more than NZ$10 million to minimise effects of noise pollution in the area. But the country's environment court has now ruled against them and asked the airport's owners to make some minor changes to their 2008 redevelopment plan to address the noise concerns. Once the changes are made, it can proceed with the work, it adds.


"It is especially pleasing that the court has chosen to make only minor changes to the plans approved by the [district] council in 2008," says Paraparaumu Airport chairman John Goulter, who adds that the proposed changes will be submitted this week. "The main priority now is to establish a terminal and reseal the main runway, including some levelling work, as a precursor to Air New Zealand commencing regular flights to and from Paraparaumu."

Paraparaumu was the region's main airport until Wellington International Airport opened in 1959. It mainly handles general aviation traffic. The redevelopment plan includes extending the main 1,350m (4,430ft)-long runway, shifting and shortening the east-west runway, and creating an industrial park on the site.

The company hopes that Air New Zealand will begin flights to and from Auckland and Christchurch by end-2010. Air New Zealand is likely to base some Bombardier Q300 aircraft at the aircraft once the work is completed.


Source: Flight Daily News