Rotorua Airport is set for a $4.4 million facelift, including new security, earthquake strengthening and a redesign of the airport terminals.
Rotorua Airport chief executive Mark Gibb presented the budget for the new-look airport at yesterday's Rotorua Lakes Council meeting.
The building was classified as at "earthquake risk" and Gibb said the primary driver for the upgrade was health and safety.
However, the company had also outgrown the facilities and there were a "number of issues", he said.
"We take a huge amount of pride in the manaakitanga we show people in Rotorua and I'm embarrassed at how we welcome people through the airport.
"We can't sit here and take for granted that people will continue to use it, we need to stay competitive and for $4.4m we get a lot of bang for our buck."
The redevelopment addresses issues with existing air conditioning and security cameras as well as giving provision for screening to be brought in.
The Civil Aviation Authority has indicated security screening could be brought in for all domestic airports within two to three weeks notice.
Gibb said the redevelopment was "essential" to keeping the airport open and creating a range of income generating opportunities.
Gibb was asked by councillors about the expected disruption to travellers and the potential for a Koru lounge.
The initial stages of redevelopment will take place in the international arrivals area at the southern end of the terminal.
During this stage airport operations will be run out of the existing departure lounge.
The interior of the arrivals hall will be demolished and rebuilt with a series of new booths for rental car companies, extra facilities for operators wanting to come into the airport and a digital advertising space, Gibb said.
Once the first stage is complete, the centrepiece of the building between the arrival and departure lounge will be demolished.
The final stage of work will be in the departure hall and during this stage departures will operate through the old international area.
This stage of the development will include provisions for upgraded commercial and food and beverages space.
The upgrade has been designed to handle the increase of tourists expected in the next 10 to 15 years.
Gibb said the airport was in the "final throes of a conversation with Air New Zealand" about a Koru lounge.
In feedback received from travellers, 50 per cent expressed the desire for a Koru Lounge.
He said if Air New Zealand didn't come to the party, the airport would run a business case to fund the lounge separately.
Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer said the airport upgrade was the latest in a series of recent investment announcements that showed confidence in the future of the region.
"As a key gateway to our city, the airport is the first experience that many visitors have of Rotorua and helps to reflect our sense of manaakitanga."
An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said it welcomed the upgrade, which would provide its customers with modernised facilities and act as a primary gateway into Rotorua and the wider region.
"We have been involved throughout the planning process and are continuing to work closely with the airport."
Over the summer months Air New Zealand will be increasing capacity on the Rotorua–Christchurch route by 14 per cent with up to three additional weekly services.