When planning a new airport, it is essential to consider the maximum runway achievable.
The right length can support a region’s growth, connectivity, resilience and prosperity over the long term.
Runway length will also determine the aircraft types that can be used, as well as the number of passengers, and weight of freight and fuel (payload) that can safely be carried.
Widebody aircraft can provide 3.5 times more value compared to narrowbody aircraft – mostly due to the freight they are able to carry.
Airports can enable lifesaving services during emergencies and can be key to establishing alternative supply routes in the event of land transport (road and rail) disruptions. A longer runway provides more options for how those services are delivered.
A runway between 2,200m and 2,600m is feasible for the proposed site.
For this project, runway lengths of 2,200m and 3,000m have been considered as the shortest and longest realistic options available on the site. Analysis suggests that while a 3,000m runway would fit on the site, it would be less able to accommodate take off weights of long-haul flights due to the surrounding terrain.
At 2,200-2,600m, the runway would enable a broad range of aircraft types, and is expected to be suitable for the next generation of sustainably-powered aircraft.
The site can accommodate fully compliant 240m x 150m Runway End Safety Area (RESA) at each end of the runway, and a parallel taxiway. A RESA is a symmetrical area adjacent to the end of the runway to reduce the risk of damage to an aircraft over or under shooting the runway.
In New Zealand, RESA must extend at least 240m unless the Director of Civil Aviation decides it’s not practicable.
This does not mean a decision has been made on runway length. It means the maximum likely runway length feasible for this site is 2,600m.