Wellington Airport has bowed to public pressure and dropped plans to give motorists just five minutes to unload friends and family, as part of a planned $5m ticketed barrier road revamp.
Motorists will now have 10 minutes grace when the changes arrive in September.
The airport last year announced plans to install 19 barrier arms at either end of Stewart Duff Drive, to create a new drop-off route designed to get rid of unwanted through traffic.
Motorists would have to take a ticket from a barrier and get out again within five minutes or be charged for overstaying.
Today Wellington Airport communications manager Greg Thomas said the following changes would be introduced when the transport developments were completed:
- Extending the free of charge period from five to ten minutes for drop-off and pick-up.
- Reducing short term parking rates from $3 to $2 for 15 minutes and from $5 to $4 for 30 minutes for uncovered terminal parking.
- Improving the pick-up area on the ground floor opposite the arrivals baggage area.
''The new system will be up and running by mid-September if we have a reasonable run of late winter weather,'' he said.
''The investment we are making in the improved drop-off area is all about ensuring a better and safer experience that will help passengers comfortably make their flights on time.''
A new ramp, now visible at northern end of the airport, will take travellers straight to the expanded drop-off area.
Soon there will be no need to take a full circuit of the airport - the driving distance will reduce by 600 metres.
''We have appreciated everyone's patience given the inconvenience over the last few months while these works are being undertaken,'' Mr Thomas said.
Airport management has been criticised on poor community engagement over plans to remove 22 houses on Bridge St, Rongotai near the runway, the contentious ''Wellywood'' sign and now the $5m road revamp - the handling of which eastern ward councillor Leonie Gill labelled a ''PR disaster''.
- The Dominion Post
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