Nelson Airport Seeks Public Input on Runway Extension.

Nelson Airport has opened its doors to public submissions regarding its proposed runway extension and amendments to its land zoning. The Nelson City Council has officially announced the airport’s application to modify its existing designations, initiating a consultation period that will continue until 10 July.

Mark Thompson, the Chief Executive of Nelson Airport, unveiled the plan named “Project 2-Zero,” which aims to secure a sustainable future for aviation in Nelson-Tasman. The runway extension serves multiple purposes, including accommodating future sustainably-powered aircraft, eliminating weight restrictions for current aircraft, and enhancing safety through the provision of additional buffer zones.

The project derives its name from the runway’s technical term, “2-0,” while also aligning with the objective of contributing to a zero-carbon future for aviation. Thompson stressed the necessity of a longer runway within the next decade or so to cater to forthcoming low-emission aircraft. Currently, Nelson Airport boasts one of the shortest runways in the world designed for ATR aircraft, but it is projected to fall short for future low-emission planes.

“Our expert advisors have informed us that these aircraft are likely to require longer take-off and landing facilities compared to our current infrastructure,” stated Thompson.

The application comprises two parts: a private plan change application seeking to amend the airport’s zoning in the Nelson Resource Management Plan, transitioning from the current blend of industrial, open space and recreation, and residential zoning to a distinct airport zone. Additionally, it includes a notice of requirement to modify the airport’s existing designations pertaining to the aerodrome, air noise boundary controls, and airport height restrictions.

As part of the proposal, a comprehensive noise mitigation package adhering to best practices will be implemented for qualifying existing homes falling within the airport’s noise contours.

Thompson emphasized the importance of public comprehension regarding the project’s objectives. “The runway extension does not serve as a means to enable jet aircraft, nor does it seek to increase the frequency or hours of flights. While airport operations may evolve over time, extending the runway primarily positions us for a low-emissions aviation future, allowing our current operators to achieve enhanced efficiency with full passenger loads.”

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