Nelson Airport's new multi-million-dollar terminal is officially open.
The first arrival into the redeveloped facility touched down this morning – a sign of just how far the airport has come since first opening 44 years ago.
The new $30 million terminal is expected to cater for growth projections out to 2035, when 1.4 million passengers are expected to pass through here each year, Nelson Airport boss Rob Evans said.
“It's the fifth busiest airport in New Zealand, so that's behind Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown,” he said.
“The region economically is really strong, there's a lot of good industries here that are building nicely.”
Nelson is among a number of airports rebuilding or exploring expansion, although Airport Association chief executive Kevin Ward said some are struggling to survive on a commercial basis.
“If you're in a smaller centre where you've got fewer flights, it's much harder for them to do that within their own resources and it can be a burden on ratepayers in a small district.
So things like the provincial growth fund, that's another avenue to support growth in the regions to keep those air connections going and to support the economic and social development.
Nelson and Tasman Council co-own the airport.