Media Release GotB: Changes to Singapore Airlines’ Capital Express still don’t stack up for ratepayers

An announcement today that Singapore Airlines has canned its route to Canberra is a stark admission that there is not enough demand for international flights out of Wellington, say those concerned about the ongoing spending of ratepayer and taxpayer money on the venture. Guardians of the Bays, representing more than 600 community and ratepayer organisations and concerned individuals, is concerned that public money has been used to subsidise the route despite it being obvious for some time that it was not successful. Guardians of the Bays Co-Chair Richard Randerson said it was no surprise that Singapore Airlines was pulling the plug on the Wellington – Canberra – Singapore route. Despite spending at least $3 million dollars of ratepayer money to promote the route, publicly available loading data clearly shows that the route achieved less than a 50 percent passenger loading. That is great if you like lots of seats on your plane, but it isn’t great for ratepayers who have been subsidising this route for more than a year – for no discernible benefit. Canberra has a similar-sized population to Wellington, and if Canberra cannot muster a payload, it is unlikely Wellington can do anything better. Latest figures from international Read More …

OPINION: THE AIRPORT’S DISREGARD OF PUBLIC SAFETY IS COMING UNDER SCRUTINY – YET AGAIN

A little over week ago, a white Subaru got washed off the Moa Point breakwater by a ‘rogue’ wave. Some reports said the car’s occupants were fishing “at the popular fishing spot”, whilst eye (and social media) witnesses said that 3 people were actually inside the car when the wave struck them. They had to smash their way out through the windows and were lucky to get out of the wild ocean alive. This is not the first time a car was swept off that breakwater, and people have died there in the past, according to locals. An airport spokeswoman wrongly claimed that the metal safety barrier had “recently been damaged by the storm or vandalised”. Now, that ‘barrier’ has long been broken, and the breakwater safety sorely neglected by the airport. As with the entire southern end of the runway, the breakwater is an eyesore full of dangerous rocks, akmons and crevices and open to the pounding southerly waves. We can often watch giant waves break over the entire runway end and the breakwater, with holes spurting water several metres high. We also often watch people fishing off the breakwater, including taking their vehicles up there. Most fishermen aren’t Read More …

MEDIA RELEASE: Ratepayers Will Pay for Wellington Airport’s Folly

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1711/S00488/ratepayers-will-pay-for-wellington-airports-folly.htm Sunday, 19 November 2017, 2:27 pm Press Release: Guardians of the Bays Wellington Ratepayers Will Pay for Wellington International Airport’s Folly 19 November 2017 – Wellington International Airport is continuing its cynical campaign to shoehorn Wellington ratepayers into paying for a runway extension, despite having no airline, no business case and no eye to safety concerns raised by pilots, according to concerned ratepayers, community leaders and recreational groups. Guardians of the Bays, which represents more than 600 recreational, community and ratepayer members, says Wellington Airport’s announcement that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Chinese company to construct the new extension shows it has little respect for the community or the ratepayers. Guardians of the Bays’ Co-Chair Richard Randerson says WIAL is trying to reinvigorate its extension plans on the back of the Government’s $1 billion regional development fund. “The questions that residents and ratepayers had prior to the General Election have still not been addressed. There is already evidence that the proposal is likely to cost much more than the $350m originally suggested, up to $500m according to one expert. “The Environment Court process is not completed, there are still questions about the safety of the Read More …

OPINION: Wellington Airport extension shouldn’t be allowed off the ground

By Dave Armstrong: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/98996698/Airport-extension-shouldn-t-be-allowed-off-the-ground?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=Twitter KEVIN STENT/STUFF There’s no money to build the runway extension at Wellington. OPINION: Last Sunday in Beijing, Wellington Airport signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a Chinese construction company and the China Express airline. Hallelujah! Wellington has the world’s biggest construction company to help extend its runway so millions of tourists can flood into Wellington. The parties will apparently work together on the extension, develop the airport area and market Wellington as a destination. Yet as Scoop website reminded us last week, our council signed a similar MOU with a different Chinese construction company in 2015. And remember the MOU that Celia Wade-Brown signed in China to build that lovely Chinese Garden that currently sits in Frank Kitts Park? Oops – what a civic embarrassment that has been. I’m sure there must be an old Chinese proverb about Wellington mayors who rashly sign MOUs ending up with gravel rash at election time. READ MORE * Wellington Airport lines up Chinese construction giant for runway extension * Airports group joins Supreme Court hearing to warn of risks from pilots’ safety challenge * Wellington Airport claims not all planes need to be able to land on longer runway But there’s just Read More …

RE-BLOG Werewolf: Gordon Campbell on the runway extension’s latest court failure

March 1, 2017 Gordon Campbell         Thank goodness for the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). The Court of Appeal has just ringingly found in favour of the pilots’ union over the safety issues raised by the Wellington runway extension. Not only has the previous High Court ruling been overturned. The Director of Civil Aviation (CAA) has also been ordered told back to the drawing board to properly do the job of evaluating the size of the safety areas required for the extension, in full accord with New Zealand’s international obligations. The pilots union were also compensated by the Court of Appeal judges for their costs in bringing the court action. Interestingly, the reasoning in the Court of Appeal decision almost exactly mirrored the detailed critique of the original High Court decision made in this Werewolf article last October. All along, the pilots’ safety-related legal challenge had revolved around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. Basically, the RESA is the safety zone required if and when planes ‘run off’ the runway proper and need to decelerate safely, in the event of an emergency, or because of Read More …

NEWS: CAA must review safety areas at Wellington Airport, Court of Appeal rules

HAMISH RUTHERFORD Last updated 13:05, February 28 2017 SUPPLIED An aerial map of Wellington Airport showing where the proposed runway extension would be built to the south. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has to revisit a decision over whether a longer runway safety area is needed if Wellington Airport extends its runway, a court has ruled. In a decision released on Tuesday the Court of Appeal has agreed with the NZ Airlines Pilots’ Association (NZALPA) that the CAA must consider if longer runway safety areas (RESA) can feasibly be constructed, and also consider the use of arresting systems if appropriate. The Court of Appeal found that in ruling that Wellington’s existing 90 metre safety area as compliant and appropriate for Wellington Airport’s proposed extension, the director of the CAA “made material errors in law”. unknown Wellington Airport chief executive Steve Sanderson said it was too early to say what impact the Court of Appeal ruling would have on the proposed runway extension. Under international aviation rules, regulators must ensure that airports operate with RESAs of at least 90m, and if “practicable” of at least 240m. READ MORE: * Wellington Airport puts resource consent plans for runway extension on hold * Wellington Airport asking councils to restart runway extension Read More …

NEWS: Jetstar stopping Wellington-Melbourne direct flights

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/88033512/jetstar-stoping-wellingtonmelbourne-direct-flights ELLEN READ Last updated 13:20, December 30 2016   Jetstar is stopping its Wellington to Melbourne direct flight from March. Jetstar is suspending its direct flights from Wellington to Melbourne, citing a lack of passenger demand. It’s passengers will need to travel via Auckland or Christchurch from March 1, although Air NZ and Qantas still offer direct flights. Those who have already booked Jetstar flights for March or later will be offered a full refund or the option of the extra stop en route. “We launched our direct Melbourne-Wellington service nearly two years ago, however, despite continued efforts by Jetstar and local partners to promote the flights, we haven’t seen the passenger demand we’d hoped for,” a Jetstar spokesperson confirmed on Friday. READ MORE * Wellington Airport runway extension cost could blow out to $458m, says expert * Runway extension still has a way to go before getting consent * No ‘Plan B’ if $300m runway extension fails to fly * What the experts had to say about the runway extension Wellington Airport is 66 per cent owned by NZX-listed infrastructure company Infratil, with the balance owned by the Wellington City Council. Infratil has said reduced airline services and competition is a risk to the airport’s financial success. The route cancellation will Read More …

RE-BLOG AUSTRALIAN AVIATION: Singapore Airlines’ Canberra flights about half full in October

January 9, 2017 by australianaviation.com.au Singapore Airlines launched Singapore-Canberra-Wellington flights in September. (Paul Sadler) Singapore Airlines’s new service to Canberra and Wellington has featured plenty of empty seats during its first months of operations, new figures suggest. According to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) monthly report on international airline passenger and freight numbers, SIA’s flights between Singapore and Canberra were roughly half full in October, the first full month the route has been in service since it launched on September 20. However, the Canberra-Wellington leg has not been as well patronised, with only a quarter of the seats filled. The BITRE data indicated SIA carried 2,599 inbound passengers from Singapore to Canberra in the month of October, when it operated 18 flights. Given flight SQ291 is operated by Boeing 777-200s configured with 38 angled life-flat business class and 228 economy class seats for a total seat count of 266, the BITRE data suggested SIA’s average load factor on Singapore-Canberra was 54.3 per cent. Meanwhile, the reciprocal SQ292 carried 2,011 passengers from Canberra to Singapore in October, which represented an average load factor of 44.5 per cent. The Singapore-Canberra-Wellington rotation, which the Star Alliance member dubs the Read More …

NEWS – Newshub: New Wellington reservoir must be priority after quake – Councillor

Link to original post here. Tuesday 22 Nov 2016 9:18 p.m. By Chris Holden A new reservoir designed to prevent Wellington being cut off from water for up to 100 days following an earthquake is being labelled an absolute priority by a Wellington City councillor. In an unlikely move, Green Party Councillor Iona Pannett, who chairs the Wellington City Council’s City Strategy Committee, has revealed she is open to considering a public-private partnership to construct the $25 million, 35 million litre reservoir above the Prince of Wales park in central Wellington. Without the reservoir, Wellingtonians could face up to a 100-day wait to get their water back up and running after a major quake, and Ms Pannett says after last Monday’s 7.8 tremor it must be a priority now. Ms Pannett’s preference is that the funding comes from central Government but she is open to a public-private partnership. “Discussions with central Government must begin immediately,” Ms Pannett says. “The Wellington Council simply doesn’t have the funding, and will now need to look to other options.” Documents provided by Wellington Water to Wellington City councillors in 2012 estimate getting water reconnected following a break in the bulk supply lines could take Read More …

RE-BLOG CROAKING CASSANDRA: Wellington airport and the runway extension

By Michael Reddell, October 17, 2016. Link here. Fairfax’s Hamish Rutherford had a substantial piece in Saturday’s Dominion-Post on the proposed Wellington airport runway extension, under the heading If we build it, will they come? (a rather similar title to my own first post on the airport last year).  It seemed like a fairly balanced article, covering many (but not all) of the key uncertainties about the project.   Most of them wouldn’t be a matter for public concern if this was to be a privately-funded project, but it isn’t –  and everyone agrees on that. There was an interesting quote to that effect at the start of the article from airport company chair Tim Brown. As Tim Brown tells it, the first time he discussed a “back of the envelope”-type analysis of the cost to extend Wellington runway with the airport’s chief executive, Steve Sanderson, the conversation was “completely negative”. …..Brown had just been presented an outline of a $300 million project, aiming to enable non-stop long-haul flights to the capital. However, the  potential gains to the airport (two-thirds owned by Infratil, the rest by Wellington City Council) were likely to see a boost in profits that would only justify it investing around Read More …