Airport’s trans-Tasman flights to end

The Virgin Australia airline is to end its Brisbane-Hamilton flights from the end of October because of lack of demand.

The airline’s Australia NZ spokesman Mark Pitt said demand for the service, which began three years ago as Pacific Blue, had deteriorated to the point where the service was no longer sustainable. The flights are three times a week.

Hamilton Airport chief executive Chris Doak described the decision to end the airport’s only international passenger flights as “disappointing for the region.”

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Airport plans longer runway

Hamilton Airport is proposing the Government pays $25 million to extend its runway so the city can be the North Island alternative for big jets if a tsunami or other disaster hits Auckland Airport.

Airport company chairman John Birch believes Hamilton Airport would be a “national asset” in the event of a calamity such as a plane crash, a terminal fire or a natural disaster closing Auckland Airport for an extended period.

The only airports currently able to take long-haul aircraft are Christchurch and Auckland.

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Airport offers parking discount

Hamilton Airport has launched a new car parking system that offers travellers significant savings on parking fees.

Available online, the new car park booking option, the first for a regional airport in New Zealand, enables travellers to book and pay for parking ahead of their flight and cut current drive-up rates by up to half.

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Airport runway cleared for take off

Hamilton International Airport has gained resource consents to extend its runway by around 1000 metres to accommodate larger aircraft and enable international flights beyond Australia.

Commissioners appointed by the Waikato, Hamilton and Waipa councils to hear the matter, which attracted 62 submissions, released their 101-page decision today.

Key concerns raised by submitters, including Tamahere residents, were over noise, traffic, ecological issues and whether an extension of the airport was economically justified.

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Airport extension hearing nears

Tamahere people wishing to be heard in person at the upcoming resource consent hearing on the proposed Hamilton International Airport extension need to notify the hearing administrator by this Friday, February 18.

The hearing, scheduled to begin at 9am on Monday, March 21, is being heard at the Waipa District Council chambers in Te Awamutu by independent commissioners Doug Arcus and Alan Watson.

People who submitted on the proposal, which will affect height limitations and approach paths surrounding the airport and could change noise boundaries and noise and subdivision rules, can use links on Tamahere Forum to email the hearing administrator.

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Bridge may open Labour Weekend

The temporary bridge across the Waikato River at The Narrows may be open by Labour Weekend.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) had estimated it would be the end of October before Airport Road or State Highway 21 would be open but today said it was on track to reopen the river crossing a week earlier.

“Excellent progress is being made to install a temporary, single-lane bailey bridge immediately downstream of the existing bridge,” said NZTA State Highway Manager Kaye Clark in a statement. “The foundations have been completed and the bridge is now fully assembled and ready to be transported to the site, where it will be lifted into place next week.”

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