A new $4.75 million terminal at Bay of Islands Airport in Kerikeri is due to be opened today by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones.

The new building replaces a congested and ageing terminal and offers roomier arrival and departure areas as well as a dedicated luggage area.

The project was largely funded by Far North Holdings, a council-owned company which owns and operates the airport, with a contribution from Air New Zealand and $1.75m from the Government's Provincial Growth Fund.

Inside the new Bay of Islands Airport terminal. Photo / Louise Hansen
Inside the new Bay of Islands Airport terminal. Photo / Louise Hansen

The PGF grant allowed the building to be ''future-proofed'' with extra space for full baggage screening, which is likely to be a future requirement from the Civil Aviation Authority.

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Passenger numbers hit a record 110,000 in Kerikeri last financial year. The new terminal will be able to handle twice or even three times that number.

Passengers started using the new terminal last Sunday. It will be blessed by local hapū Ngāti Rehia at dawn today followed by an official opening at 9.15am.

During construction a temporary check-in and departures area was set up in a building previously used by the Bay of Islands Aero Club.

The new Bay of Islands Airport terminal will be able to handle twice or even three times the current 110,000 passengers a year. Photos / Louise Hansen
The new Bay of Islands Airport terminal will be able to handle twice or even three times the current 110,000 passengers a year. Photos / Louise Hansen

A new terminal has been in the pipeline for many years but a 30 per cent lift in passenger numbers since 2016, when Air New Zealand switched to bigger aircraft, gave the project more urgency.

The company had used 19-seat Beechcraft 1900D aircraft on the Auckland-Kerikeri route but now flies the 50-seat Bombardier Dash 8 Q300.

Another factor in Kerikeri's growth was Air New Zealand's decision to stop flying to Kaitaia in 2015.