History has been made with Hawke's Bay Airport electing to change its name to Ahuriri Airport Hawke's Bay.

According to airport chief executive Nick Story the name change will take place officially once the terminal redevelopment project is completed in 2017.

Kaumatua Heitia Hiha's reaction to the news was "marvellous" and "excellent".

He said while people would still variously refer to it as Napier Airport, or Hawke's Bay Airport, at least it has been recorded what "our old people thought".

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"We have captured history," he said. "In our kohanga reo and kura kaupapa Maori and those places we can say it and it means something."

Mr Story said the change of name was decided following consultation with the Airport Company's shareholders - the Crown, Napier City Council and Hastings District Council, with other stakeholders, - and company directors confirmed their support earlier this year.

"The name change will become official once the terminal redevelopment project has been completed in 2017," he said.

Airport chairman Tony Porter said he expected continued public interest in the board's decision to support the proposed name change to Ahuriri Airport Hawke's Bay, following extended stakeholder consultation.

"We are looking forward to this significant milestone in the airport's history and see the opening of the new terminal as an excellent time to launch our new name," he said.

He said implementing the name change as part of the terminal development would also minimise any associated legal and branding costs, which would be absorbed within normal operating budgets.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said the Napier City Council (NCC) was quite relaxed about the name change. "It does recognise and show respect for the area and the history of the area," he said.

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said while his council preferred to keep calling it Hawke's Bay Airport at Ahuriri, the Board has made its decision.

"I understand the reason for it," he said, noting that the claimant group were significant players and had an interest long-term in the airport shareholding.

"I think at some level as a potential future owner, there is merit in their request.

"The NCC supported it as, I understand, did the Crown and the Airport Board, and I respect that decision."

According to a release issued by the airport, work on the proposed terminal expansion to service increased passenger demand will begin early next year, and will include a new rescue fire station. Mr Porter said building a new rental carwash and valet facility, including a new vehicle storage area is well underway in a former hangar building.