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Wellington Airport runway extension …..a good idea?

June 5, 2013

Since my original post on this,  where I took a position of cautious support, I have become aware that the issue is complex.

There is definitely a view among some residents that long haul flights to Singapore direct from Wellington could be good for the Wellington economy, encouraging business to come here, and good for local travelers, with roughly six hours saved per return trip from not having to go via Auckland or Christchurch.  From an energy-efficiency perspective, there could even be some carbon benefits, as 25% of the energy used in a flight is consumed during take-off. So if planes take off once rather than twice, that’s a fuel saving, not to mention savings in baggage handling and other services. Also the new planes that are proposed are apparently more fuel efficient than the existing fleet.

On the downside, there are concerns around extra noise (hopefully minimal), the vibration from planes taking off (which apparently residents in Maupuia experience),  and concerns about potential rises in landing fees (currently $25 a flight for owners of small planes). However most of the concerns which I’ve heard expressed are around the impacts on the landscape and ecology of the harbour, and also  whether the economic returns would justify the cost.

The resource consent which the Council and Airport have jointly funded will cover all aspects of the proposed extension including environmental impacts and economic feasibility. Extending to both the north and south will be considered.

Any comments?

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