Airport runway to get $3m facelift

00:27, Feb 11 2012

Work is to begin on Monday night on a $3 million resurfacing of the Nelson Airport runway, but it won't affect scheduled passenger services, airport chief executive Kaye McNabb says.

A team of 40 contractors will be working through the night over two weeks or more from next Monday to resurface the 61,000 square metre runway. Mrs McNabb said about 8500 tonnes of asphalt will be required to complete the task, which will be done in sections. About 500 tonnes of asphalt will be laid each night, which is "no mean feat".

"Fulton Hogan is undertaking the work and planning has been detailed. Particular attention has been given to reducing disturbance to nearby residents as much as possible including such details as muffling the backing beepers on the plant being used.

"It is still likely that there will be some residents disturbed by the operations and we offer our sincere apologies in advance." Mrs McNabb said. "The team will do all it can to minimise noise."

She said with about 2000 passengers a day coming or going from the airport, ensuring flight schedules are not affected is of paramount importance to the airport company and the airlines.

Flights operate in and out of Nelson until 10.30pm on Fridays, so that will be set aside as the "rest night" for the duration of the project.

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The resurfacing will consist of a 50-millimetre overlay of "asphaltic" concrete and will cost the airport company close to $3m. It is expected to provide a trouble-free runway surface for the next 15 years, Mrs McNabb said.

The runway was last resurfaced with a 40mm overlay in 1995 at a cost of $875,600.

Mrs McNabb said weather is a big factor in determining how long the project will take, but the runway will be open soon after 6am each day until after the last scheduled flight has landed at night.

Nelson Airport is the country's fourth busiest and last year announced plans for a $2m terminal expansion, scheduled to start this year, to help ease the Friday night and Saturday morning squeeze when hundreds of passengers come and go in the space of an hour.

The plans were contained within the company's draft long-term master plan that looks ahead to 2030.

Nelson Airport is home to Air New Zealand's regional subsidiary, Air Nelson, which operates a regional air fleet under the Link brand with a fleet of 23 Bombardier Q300 aircraft. It is also the international headquarters of Helicopters NZ and hosts aviation servicing companies providing maintenance and refurbishment facilities, with a particular focus on turbo prop aircraft and helicopters.

Smaller airlines also operate in and out of Nelson providing additional Cook Strait passenger and freight services.

The Nelson Mail