Just months into a new terminal expansion programme, Hawke's Bay Airport has already expanded its plans for an even bigger terminal, to deal with a forecast 1 million passengers in 2025.
Contractors started the project earlier this year but Hawke's Bay Airport chief executive Stuart Ainslie said the budget had now been increased by $4.5 million to $20.2m.
"The airport has reported strong passenger growth and we've also set a target of reaching 1 million passengers a year by 2025. At the same time, we reviewed the proposed floor plan and amenities and have made some generous modifications."
The project's new scope would mean almost doubling the terminal's size from 2500sq m to 4340sq m.
"The airport has experienced strong passenger growth with 652,000 passenger movements recorded in the financial year ending June 30, 2017. The current expansion plan was set to cater for up to 800,000 passengers, which it was initially forecasted to hit in 2024, but has since been revised to 2020."
Just last week Air New Zealand announced an additional 12 one-way flights between Napier and Auckland, while Origin Air said it would introduce new flights from Napier to New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Nelson.
Ainslie, who had previously been in lead roles in the redevelopment of two international airports – Darwin, Australia and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea - commissioned airport planning consultancy Airbiz to review the existing terminal and apron design in relation to the current terminal construction plans.
"Based on the current 'busy hour' figures we are already at the anticipated capacity for when the redeveloped airport opens, so it's important that we add additional floor space now.
"It's important we create a sense of place and that visitors get a true taste of Hawke's Bay either by visually promoting the region within the terminal or via retail offerings of Hawke's Bay products such as food and beverages [wine]."
The revised construction additions will lift the budget by $4.5m and push back the full terminal completion date to the second quarter of 2020.
The terminal has been designed in the shape of a kuaka (godwit) bird in flight by local architects PMA with supporting design inspiration from local artist and Mana Ahuriri representative Jacob Scott.
"It's important that we incorporate a strong sense of place with reference to the kuaka and reflecting the aspirations of Mana Ahuriri and Ngati Kahungunu iwi."
The terminal when complete will be 74 per cent larger than the existing footprint and will include new airline check-in areas, an automated baggage handling system, a dedicated arrivals gate, a central hospitality and retail area, new bathrooms, airline offices and an expanded Air New Zealand regional lounge. The rental car concierge area will also be relocated within the terminal.
"Our vision is to be the most vibrant and successful regional airport in New Zealand," Ainslie said.
The increased investment, funded by Hawke's Bay Airport Limited, has been approved by shareholders Napier City Council, Hastings District Council and the Crown.
Arrow International started the expansion construction in January this year and the first stage, the reconfigured arrivals hall, will be operational by late 2018.
Arrow International's Central Region general manager, Chris Goldsbury, said the arrivals area would open as originally planned.
"The team have made great progress so far. Arrow have been working very closely with airport staff, the project manager and sub-contractors, so it's business as usual."
Napier Airport Ltd is co-owned by the Crown (50 per cent), Napier City Council (26 per cent) and Hastings District Council (24 per cent).
Napier City Council Mayor Bill Dalton said the council supported the additional expansion plans.
"There has been substantial growth in passenger numbers over recent years with Air New Zealand adding extra flights and increasing plane size and the arrival of Jetstar. We want to ensure that the airport has the capacity to meet continued growth predictions while at the same time being a welcoming and enjoyable gateway to the region."
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was an "exciting project" for the whole region.
"We share the airport's vision to create the best provincial airport in New Zealand. The Hawke's Bay Airport is being very proactive in meeting the future needs given the predicted passenger number growth and the overall growth of the region."
Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said the plans were "brilliant".
"The airport is our key gateway and we want it looking as magnificent as the rest of Hawke's Bay does. It provides an opportunity for visitors, as they arrive, to get an impression of the region, and they have some pretty exciting things planned for inside the terminal."