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27 Sep 2021

Encouraging step forward for Central Otago airport

Christchurch Airport Project Director Michael Singleton is pragmatic about a preliminary aeronautical assessment’s ‘tick’ for the company’s site for a new regional airport to serve Central Otago.

The assessment, undertaken with aviation consultancy Airbiz, is the most thorough technical analysis yet of a new airport option to potentially resolve the well-known connectivity constraints in the region.

Its key finding is that Christchurch Airport-owned land is able to support an airfield with a single runway of at least 2.2 kilometres.

A runway of that size could serve all of New Zealand’s domestic destinations, Australia and parts of the Pacific.

Two potential runway alignments have been identified and the project team will spend the next 6 to 9 months undertaking deeper analysis to help inform a preferred option.

Project Director Michael Singleton says the assessment is encouraging progress but there’s still a lot of work to do.

"As well as the technical analysis, we have to ensure the project is investable and look at how we could design an airport to get all of the required operating and planning consents in a low-carbon future."

- Michael Singleton

Michael Singleton says any airport in Central Otago would always be smaller than Christchurch’s.

“Christchurch Airport is a major gateway to New Zealand and will continue to grow. However, Central Otago would create fresh opportunities and play a vital role in securing the South Island’s aviation network for future generations.”

“This is important, long-term thinking. New Zealand is uniquely reliant on aviation - it is the only way to get high-value, time-sensitive freight to and from the country, and the only practical way for Kiwis to explore the world and hop between our islands quickly.”

You can find out more about the project on