Passengers who touch down in sunny Hawke's Bay on Tuesday will be the first to collect their bags in the new arrivals hall.

The first milestone of the Hawke's Bay Airport expansion has been completed, with contractors polishing off the final touches, such as fitting out the vehicle rental kiosks, placing the glossy information signs and lifting off floor protection covers.

The new expansion includes a new automated baggage system, a first for the airport.

The traditional "tractor trailer" unit will perform its final baggage task on Monday night.


While the old system was a hit among passengers, the significant increase in people at the airport meant that a new automated system which has the capacity to handle 2.5 million bags a year was paramount.

Hawke's Bay Airport chief executive Stuart Ainslie said the busy Christmas holiday period was now over and it was the perfect time to open the arrivals area.

"We're in the process of doing a final clean-up and final testing of the new automated baggage system. We're all incredibly excited about being able to welcome visitors and locals to the arrivals area from Tuesday onwards."

To celebrate the new opening, one passenger will be given a voucher for a $500 hamper supplied by Ovation New Zealand.

As part of the final preparations the new arrivals area will be blessed by a Mana Ahuriri kaumatua at dawn on Sunday morning.

Although the first milestone has been reached, the real "wow factor" won't be revealed until then $20.2m milestone is completed in mid 2020.

In September the airport announced an upgrade to its expansion project following an increase in forecast passenger numbers of 1 million by 2025.