Wellington Airport Progress, Leaks, Parking, and Posturing

At the risk of annoying the Chairman of the WIAL Board again, I have some updates on the planned airport extension that have been sent to me by one of the local residents. It makes for interesting reading to say the least and we can be absolutely certain that nothing will be happening anytime soon.

So apparently, the airport did not release the recent engineering report to the Dominion Post and is understandable annoyed about that, which shows that they are obviously getting a little sensitive over the entire ongoing shambles. Really, how hard is it? It either makes sense or not, and just get on with it or dump it. Berl couldn’t make economic sense of it, so apparently the airport has engaged Ernst Young (no doubt to get a more suitable answer), and that report (despite my asking the Mayor), is not going to be released. Hopefully someone will leak that as well.

Here are some new dates for all you avid airport followers:

  • June 2014 will see a full engineering report, design, and cost.
  • August 2014 will have a full business case completed.
  • November 2014 is when the consent starts to be put together and its all put out for public “consultation”.
  • December 2014 is when the consent application goes in.
  • September 2015 will be hearings and a decision.

Couple of points here; a) wow, that’s a long time and b) looks a bit like a fait a compli does it not?

Still no idea of who is going to pay for it, but apparently the WIAL is now hinting at only wanting to contribute $50 million. Down down down from $100m, to $60m, to $50m. Great if they can get someone else to pay for it I suppose. Problem is, no one wants to and no one can afford too.

And by the way, word is that the Council can’t afford it. That’s from a reliable source and the only way that this is likely to go ahead is if the National Government stumps up the cash. Joyce has already said that’s unlikely.

There is still some confusion over whether a commercial Boeing Dreamliner, the most likely plane to use the runway can already land here or not. Well, according to the mighty interweb, it can’t. What is more interesting is that even with the extension? It still can’t. The maximum takeoff weight length of runway required for the Dreamliner (full of people and fuel) is 10,300 ft. The new runway will be 7,812 ft… The Dreamliner, in fact, needs more runway than the Airbus A380. Believe it, or not. These things are big and heavy.

Wellington Airport even has on their website:

“Lighter and more fuel efficient next generation aircraft such as the B787 and A350 provide a stronger commercial case for airlines. These aircraft can reach long haul destinations with less fuel and can carry more passengers and cargo as a result. However next generation aircraft will still be load restricted from Wellington’s existing runway.” – Source

The A350 at maximum load needs 8,000 feet of runway. Someone should probably do some research. The only plane at the moment that could utilise that extra runway looks like the A330, needing 7,283 ft at max.

Anyway, this is starting to look more and more like a White Elephant as time goes by. Secret engineering reports, leaked reports, economic reports that don’t add up, secret economic reports that aren’t being released, and so on.

Surely we could spend that kind of cash on something way more useful than 300 meters of dirt that on the face of it, is going to give us bugger all in terms of capability.

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