Wellington International Airport, which is controlled by listed utility investor Infratil, has tapped Steve Sanderson as its new chief executive starting next year, a role he currently holds at Queenstown Airport.

Sanderson will replace John Howarth, who has been acting CEO since Steve Fitzgerald left the airport company to take up a role with Infratil's manager, HRL Morrison & Co in Sydney, the airport company said in a statement.

Sanderson, a director of Pioneer Generation, has a background in
infrastructure, having been general manager at Powerco and Lyttelton Port, and CEO at Dynamic Controls, a designer and manufacturer of wheelchair controls, the airport said.

Sanderson steps into the role as the airport faces criticism from airlines over a proposed $5.6 million-a-year increase in landing fees, amounting to 70 cents per passenger, or 0.5 per cent of the average airfare.


The Commerce Commission is to review the effectiveness of its price-setting guidelines next year, but in the mean-time it will not comment on whether the proposed price increase is appropriate, spokeswoman Alannah Kalafatelis said.