The Hawke’s Bay Airport’s $20.2 million expansion upgrade is two-thirds of the way to completion, with the new departure area set to open on Tuesday (November 5).
Hawke’s Bay Airport chief executive Stuart Ainslie said the two primary functional parts of the terminal are now complete, the departure and arrival areas, and construction of the centralised hospitality and retail passenger area is underway with the terminal set for full completion in October 2020.
“We’ve completed the operational aspects of the terminal, where people check in for departure and collect bags on arrival, and we’ve now moved on to the exciting part of the project, which will reveal the heart of our new terminal,” Mr Ainslie said. Stage one, the arrival and baggage claim area, opened in January this year. The departure area with a new baggage system, airline offices and cargo area is now operating after less than a month’s minor setback following Arrow International going into liquidation.
Mr Ainslie said the sudden departure of Arrow forced the airport company to come up with a creative solution establishing its own construction company, Hawke’s Bay Airport Construction Limited, to project manage the build and appoint the sub-contractor businesses. “It was an unexpected setback but we put in place our contingency plan and we’re particularly proud that we were able to minimise delays and look after the suppliers and tradesmen involved in the project, most of whom are local.,” Mr Ainslie said. He adds that stage three, the central precinct will set the scene for celebrating the story of Hawke’s Bay, both from a cultural perspective but also in terms of brining the terminal to life with a strong local theme to feature in the expanded hospitality and retail offerings.
Well-respected local artist and designer Jacob Scott was engaged to work alongside project architects Design Group PMA. Jacob’s brief was to weave a cultural overlay into the internal fit-out to build on the narrative created by the recently completed Watchman Road project. “Stage three is when the full identity of the terminal will become reality. It will incorporate a series of individually carved ceiling and wall panels that will extend along the main axis of the building’s interior; these will tell stories about the region and its people.
It’s important that we create a sense of place and that visitors get a true taste of Hawke’s Bay, either by visually promoting the region within the terminal or via retail offerings of Hawke’s Bay products such as food and beverages,” says Mr Ainslie.
A major upgrade to the car park precinct and a stunning new forecourt entranceway into the terminal are also underway. The car park will be reconfigured and new parking payment technology introduced as the airport aims to further improve the visitor experience, improve traffic flow and enable visitors to navigate their way around the roading system. New car parking payment technology will be introduced aimed at minimising the reliance on the ticket machines and exploring online payment methods via a website portal and apps.
Mr Ainslie says, as the new terminal reopens over three stages, airport staff will continue to focus on minimising congestion in the pick-up/drop-off area in front of the terminal. "It's a safety and security issue as much as a parking and congestion issue. This area needs to be kept as clear as possible and is only for prompt drop-offs and pick-ups."
The airport is currently developing a next-generation sustainable masterplan that will identify how the airport will grow into the future as it aspires to be New Zealand’s most vibrant and successful regional airport.