Extending Wellington Airport

The Dom Post reports:

is stumping up $1 million of ratepayer’s money to help Airport make it through the resource consent phase for its proposed runway extension.

The airport is considering a 300-metre extension north into Evans Bay at a projected cost of $300 million – or $1m a metre.

The extension would allow long-haul flights to and from Asia, and connections to Europe, with new-generation aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350.

Mayor Wade-Brown said the resource consent process was expected to cost $2 million and the council would vote later this month to contribute up to $1 million as a project ”kick start”.

I’m all for extending the airport, but not sure why the Council should subsidise a resource consent for it.

If Airport thinks they can make enough money from extra flights and user charges, then they should start the process.

The short and long-term benefits to of a runway extension were significant, she said.

BERL has calculated the immediate direct economic benefit to the region at more than $43 million a year with more than 300 post-construction jobs created.

Hopefully that report is more robust than the one they did on the costs of alcohol which was beyond redemption as it included costs only, and neglected to include benefits in their calculations.

Hopefully also more robust than their one claiming nationalising the power industry would create 5,000 jobs.

As I said, I think a runway extension is a good idea, and would love to be able to fly overseas (except Australia) without going through Auckland.  But the Airport is a commercial entity. It should only fund an extension if it believes it can generate enough revenues to pay for it.

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