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New airport proposal fizzles out

May 15th, 2014 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

The proposed Hunters Hill airport location

The proposed Hunters Hill airport location

Plans for a new airport announced by Wellington property investor Richard Burrell back in February, have been abandoned.

The plan advocated the building of a new airport on farmland at Hunters Hill near Churton Park.

Although  he has dropped the idea, Richard Burrell says a new airport with a longer runway would have had major economic benefits for the region and was more cost effective overall than extending the current airport runway and upgrading the roading network.

There was some criticism of the idea at the time especially from another local developer, Mike Russell of Russell Properties, who thought it was ridiculous.

“Anyone who’s spent anytime in this area knows that land is constantly covered in mist and fog. Planes would be unable to fly for half of the year, hardly what you would want for a viable airport,” he says.

However Richard Burrell says that he merely floated an idea to generate some discussion.

proposed hunters hill airport“I wanted to show that an airport runway of 2,400 metres was physically possible, which it was,” he says.

He says at a time when it was proposed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars extending the Rongotai airport runway, all alternatives should have been looked at.

“It would have taken a lot of pressure off the existing roading network and is in a more central location than the existing airport,” he says.

He says that Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee thought building a new airport was an idea worth looking at.

However, Wellington City Council and Infratil, the co-owners of the existing airport, are already committed to extending the runway to allow for international flights from Asia.

Mr Burrell says for those reasons, plans for a new airport at Hunters Hill have been abandoned.

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