A jet every 10 mins needed: report

A passenger jet landing and taking off every 10 minutes.

That is a conclusion in a report into the underlying finances of the proposed expansion of Wanaka Airport and an investment of $400 million.

That is the flight frequency needed if the industry standard investment return is to be realised.

Wanaka Stakeholders Group commissioned Richard Somerville, of Wanaka, a chartered accountant with a 25-year career in investment banking specialising in mergers and acquisitions, to conduct the "independent'' assessment.

Working with publicly available data from five other airports in New Zealand and Australia, Mr Somerville concluded Wanaka Airport would require a flow of 3.14 million passenger movements each year, which would equate to about 26,200 landings and take-offs per year.

Wanaka Stakeholders Group deputy chairman Mark Sinclair said the group commissioned the report because there had been "a lot of talk about the need to develop the airport in Wanaka but the Queenstown Lakes District Council and the Queenstown Airport Corporation have only shared a few numbers and one of those was $400million to extend the runway and build the infrastructure required.

"On the other hand we have had various people from the QAC and the Mayor Jim Boult saying there would initially be only five return services a day in and out of Wanaka, and those two numbers don't stack up.

"So, we decided to get someone who understood airports and financing to analyse how many flights would be required to cover the investment,'' Mr Sinclair said.

Mr Somerville admitted his analysis was "simplistic'' but his work had been peer-reviewed, and his analysis and fundamental approach was "found to be solid''.

Mr Sinclair said their next move would be to ask the council and QAC to provide much more detail about what they were planning and for the Wanaka community to be involved in the discussions.

Wanaka Stakeholders Group chairman Michael Ross said their group now represented nearly 3000 members and they would be asking the council and QAC ``plenty of questions'' in the coming days on behalf of its members and the community.

The council did not respond to a request for a comment on the report last night.




That's Wanaka down there Scotty...
Aye Captain Kirk, but not as we know it...

Looking at the volume and frequency of flights through Dunedin Airport, less than half that required for Wanaka, and you get an even clear picture of the insanity of the Wanaka proposal.



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