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Infratil To Proceed With Contentious Airport Design

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington airport owner Infratil acknowledges it got good and bad feedback on its "Rock" terminal design but said construction will begin soon regardless.

The $39 million international passenger terminal has been designed to look like rocks, echoing its location on Wellington's south coast.

Comments on websites have called the design indulgent, a mistake of astronomical proportions, and compared it to a child's papier mache project and a couple of cheese balls.

It has also been called edgy.

The building, designed by Wellington's Studio Pacific Architecture, and Christchurch's Warren and Mahoney, is the second stage of refurbishments due to be finished by 2009.

Infratil said it would be fair to say the feedback had been mixed but some architecture writers were coming in behind the design.

The building has all the necessary council approvals and construction will start shortly. "The design has created a lot of comment, both supportive and not, and we are pleased that the public has been motivated to form opinions and express their views," Infratil said in a monthly update.

Comments and inquiries have been received from people in a number of other countries.

Wellington airport's February figures showed that more people travelled as air fares were discounted, although Air New Zealand today announced a 3 percent hike in domestic fares.

The number of domestic passengers through Wellington in February was 21 percent more than last year.

"While Pacific Blue has been the catalyst for the increase the competitive response from the established airlines is also generating significant passenger growth.

"Available domestic capacity increased by 28 percent from the previous year. Average aircraft loadings reduced by 4.5 percent from the previous February," Infratil said.

However, the average of 72.5 percent was still strong.

The average aircraft loading on international flights exceeded 80 percent.

"Our message remains unchanged in that until more capacity is offered many Wellingtonians will be forced to travel through Auckland or Christchurch to cross the Tasman, or may not travel at all."

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