The new arrivals hall at the Hawke’s Bay Airport has been well received by passengers as it opened today (Tuesday January 15).
After a 36 hour flight from Sweden Araminta Wilson was the first passenger to collect her bags from the new automated baggage system. Araminta from Otane, Central Hawke’s Bay, initially thought someone famous was on the flight due to the ‘paparazzi’ snapping photos as she grabbed her bags.
She was presented with a $500 Ovation NZ Lamb gift voucher from HB Airport Commercial Manager Dean Smith and Ovation’s marketing executive Renae Burridge.
“I’ve flown in from probably the most furthest place from Hawke’s Bay.
“I had no idea what was happening, I just thought the airport was looking pretty swish. I haven’t been home for a long time and I just thought ‘wow the airport had expanded quite a bit’.
“I thought there was someone famous on the flight, and then I was tapped on the shoulder and told that I was the first passenger to collect a bag in the new arrivals hall.
Hawke’s Bay Airport chief executive Stuart Ainslie said it was fantastic to see the first passengers arrive and enter into the new arrivals hall and collect their bags from an automated baggage reclaim system.
“It was exciting to see visitors and locals returning home walk into the arrivals hall for the first time and there has been a lot of hard work put in by the construction project team and sub-contractors and the airport team to meet today’s deadline.
“It’s a big milestone for the airport to get to this stage but there’s much more to come as a new-look airport becomes a gateway for the region that will be much more culturally connected.
As well as the new baggage reclaim system the arrivals hall also has vehicle rental kiosks and a pop up café. The arrivals hall was blessed by local hapu Mana Ahuriri early Sunday morning.
The arrivals area will remain separate from the remainder of the existing terminal. Stage 2 construction will continue at the southern end to include the new check in area, with the final stage 3 delivering the centralised hospitality and commercial hub opening mid 2020.
Napier Mayor Bill Dalton attended the blessing on Sunday and expects the new arrivals hall to be busy over the next couple of months as the region hosts many major events.
“The airport redevelopment is fast taking shape and we are starting to see a first class provincial airport that we can all be proud of.
“We are in our busy tourism period with the Art Deco Festival and Mission Concert and the new arrivals area will be very busy over the next couple of months.
“There has been great collaboration between the airport and Mana Ahuriri which was well evidenced at the blessing on Sunday morning and I look forward to the next two stages and the completion of the project in 2020.”
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst also welcomed the opening of the new arrivals hall.
“It’s great to see stage 1 of the airport expansion open and welcoming visitors to Hawke’s Bay.
“There has been significant progress, firstly with the opening of the new Watchman Road entranceway and now the new arrivals area in the terminal. The airport is an important gateway to the region and with passenger numbers well in excess of 700,000 a year, we will have an airport that can cope with current and anticipated growth.”
Mr Ainslie said the “big wow” of the redeveloped airport will not be realised until the $20.2m project is completed in mid 2020.
“The arrivals hall is only about 20 percent of the entire project. We are pretty much building a new terminal on part of site of the current terminal and increasing the footprint by 74 percent.
In August the Hawke’s Bay Airport company announced upgraded its terminal expansion due to a revised passenger forecast of 1 million passengers by 2025.
“We added another 500 square metres and revised the budget from $15.7m to $20.2m so that we could meet the anticipated growth as well as create additional retail and commercial offerings.
“We have been able to finance the expansion from our strong balance sheet, which is a great position to be in.”