Travellers leaving Rotorua Airport are elevated skyward - and soon their cars will be too.

The airport is to install a three-level system by July that stacks up to 44 cars. It will be used mainly for overnight and long-term parking.

The car park system was developed locally and unveiled late last year in a Tokoroa engineering workshop.

The system was built in secret over 12 months and attracted wide international attention once finished.

It was the brainchild of two sawmill executives, who adapted sawmilling technology for moving heavy logs and large stacks of timber for the fully automated vehicle parking system.

Ahu Developments' managing director Phil Jones said although their target markets were larger international urban centres, the company had sold distribution licences in New Zealand and overseas.

It had established a joint-venture company in South Africa to manufacture the system for European markets. The company has already received more than $20 million in orders.

Jones said the Rotorua Airport installation would also be used as a training centre for companies that would market the system overseas.

It was adaptable to large and small car park spaces and could be quickly dismantled and relocated.

Airport manager Matt Clarke said demand for undercover car parking at the airport was increasing rapidly.

The new stacking system would make it more affordable for passengers and save valuable ground space.

"We can now store two or three times as many cars in the ground floor space of one car without compromising our ability to deliver any car back to its owner within two or three minutes," he said.

- DAILY POST (ROTORUA)