Auckland International Airport and Wellington International Airport took the top annual NZ Airports Association Awards, at a gala industry dinner hosted in Dunedin on October 25.
Richard Holyoake, business director for sponsors Beca, said his company continued to be proud supporters of the awards event.
“Every year the standards and the progress of the sector reach new heights, and we congratulate Wellington and Auckland airports for their excellent achievements,” he said.
The Community Engagement Initiative of the Year 2018 was awarded to Auckland Airport for its Ara Airport Jobs and Skills Hub Project.
Judges noted this initiative is connecting people from South Auckland in particular with sustainable employment opportunities at the airport and its surrounding precinct, equipping them with the skills necessary to secure employment and providing ongoing opportunities for training and upskilling.
“This project is innovative, provides benefits to both the community and airport and is a superb example of a rich partnership with a range of stakeholders, including Government,” said judges.
A range of initiatives at Wellington Airport swept the other award categories at the Beca dinner:
- Community Engagement Merit Award — Cystic Fibrosis Wellington Christmas Tree Festival
- Commercial Project of the Year — Staging Project in the Main Terminal Building
- Airport /Airline Collaboration Initiative of the Year — ATR Pushback Project in Collaboration with Air New Zealand
- Infrastructure Project of the Year — Taxiway Alfa Widening and Upgrade Project
Judges noted the Cystic Fibrosis partnership includes the airport lighting up its terminal Christmas tree throughout December, which businesses and organisations sponsor and decorate, with all funds raised going to Cystic Fibrosis Wellington.
They observed the terminal staging project required hoarding and isolating over 300 square metres of prime terminal space during the demolition phase.
“Excellent staging initiatives — including a pop-up bar — meant there was no disruption to passengers or terminal spaces during the fit-out. The project particularly satisfied the award’s expectations of innovation, effective utilisation of assets, environmental sustainability and partnership with stakeholders.”
The winning airport/airline collaboration initiative entailed innovatively implementing aircraft pushback departures utilising a fully-electric Lektro Towbarless vehicle in a live operational environment.
“Now enabling the parking of all regional aircraft types on the same stand, this project has delivered clear operational efficiencies to ground service operations, enables aircraft to push back to complete departure procedures and frees up stands for incoming flights.”
The airport’s once-in-15-year Taxiway Alpha project was noted to have required contractors GHD and Fulton Hogan to undertake works overnight during the airport’s curfew hours.
“With the project including earthworks preparation, removal of the existing top layer of asphalt, regrading, relocation of stormwater infrastructure and installation of new ground lighting, the airport worked hard to ensure the wellbeing of surrounding residential communities through ongoing and open communication,” said the judging panel.
With the unprecedented recognition and multiple awards for his team, Wellington Airport chief executive Steven Sanderson emphasised the considerable planning and hard work that all parties had contributed to the winning initiatives.
“We’re striving to make a difference in how we operate our airfield and terminal — developing infrastructure that enhances the experience for airlines and passengers alike, progressing initiatives that improve our environmental sustainability and of course making a valued contribution to our wider community,” he said.
“We are very proud to receive these awards and these are very much the result of a genuine team-wide effort.”
NZ Airports chief executive Kevin Ward said the calibre of entries to this year’s awards was extremely high.
“The awards serve an important purpose in acknowledging the most notable sector projects in the areas of commercial, community engagement, airport/airline collaboration and infrastructure,” he said.
“Such was the calibre of entries this year, we decided to introduce the additional Community Engagement Merit Award.
“We congratulate the winners on the high degree of professionalism, community spirit and commitment to working with airlines and industry partners that is demonstrated in these excellent projects and initiatives. The essential air links to our cities and regions are clearly in very good hands.”