• $300mestimated cost to build

  • 33%reduction in travel time to Asia and North America

  • $389 - $684mpotential economic benefit

  • $90mCouncil's contribution towards construction

94809 2191 airport runway

Tourism is a fast-growing sector of the region’s economy, supporting 16,000 jobs. However, the industry’s potential for future growth is limited because Wellington International Airport isn’t built for long-haul international flights.

Independent economic analysis to date has found that, over 40 years, the extension has potential economic benefits to the Wellington region of between $389 million and $684 million in today’s dollars, and potential economic benefits to New Zealand of between $714 million and $1.75 billion in today’s dollars.1

These benefits would principally arise from growth in international tourism – estimated to be worth up to $1.3 billion nationally. Experience in other cities has shown that adding long-haul air services stimulates increases in inbound tourism by 50–100 percent or more within a very short timeframe.

Independent analysis commissioned by the airport has also concluded that the runway extension would support an increase in the number of international students in Wellington. It is likely to reduce business travel times by about 33 percent on routes to and from Asia and North America, and reduce freight transport times.

We are working with Wellington International Airport Ltd (WIAL) on this project. The total cost of the runway extension is expected to be about $300 million. It is anticipated that funding will be drawn from those that benefit most – the airport, residents, businesses across the wider region, as well as the government.

We have budgeted $90 million as our contribution towards a longer runway. Spreading this investment over 40 years would result in an annual cost of around $6.5 million, starting in 2019/20.

The Council will make a final decision on this project and whether to commit funding once WIAL has obtained resource management approval for the project and produced a detailed cost–benefit analysis and business case for the extension. As part of the decision-making process, the Council will have the business case independently reviewed.

Other key considerations before the Council commits to funding include:

  • the resilience of the runway extension to weather and climate change
  • the investment vehicle and any revenue agreement
  • satisfactory airline commitments
  • funding arrangements for construction and confirmed construction costs
  • the governance and management structure to oversee construction.

The Council will also undertake further public consultation before making a final decision on whether to commit funding to build the runway extension.

1 Ernst & Young, September 2014, Wellington International Airport Limited: Economic impact of the runway extension (measured in today’s dollars).


Construction could begin within the next 10 years.

How much?

$90 million (spread over 40 years at $6.5 million per year).

Key projects in our plan