Chathams Island Airport Limited has signed an agreement with the Government’s "Shovel Ready" project agent, Crown Infrastructure Partners, for stage one of an anticipated two stage project to construct a Lengthened and Strengthened airport for the Chathams Islands.
The project’s goal is to lengthen the current runway at the Inia William Tuuta Memorial Airport from its present 1370 meters to 1800 metres and strengthen it to carry larger aircraft in the code 4 c category – Boeing 737/Airbus A 320 class of aircraft.
On completion the project will provide airport facilities to serve the island’s needs for the next 30-50 years.
Government ministers have approved initial funding for stage one which will facilitate the identification of a suitably experienced and capable contractor, finalisation of project design and establish the overall project cost.
Subject to successful completion of stage one, a project cost within the anticipated funding envelope and the receipt of further ministerial approvals, the aim is to be able to commence the construction of the extended runway in mid 2021 with completion envisaged in mid 2022.
Initial geotechnical investigations, survey and preliminary design were completed in 2018/19 with funding from the Governments Provincial Growth Fund. The current investigations under stage one serve to refine that work, update costs and explore options for innovation to ensure what the Chatham Islands needs for its future social and economic development are established and the project is completed for acceptable costs.
An interesting aspect of the current investigations is the review of how the original airport was built, including gathering information from some of the local people who were involved in the 1982 project, that information is proving to be extremely valuable.
The project engineers, BECA Limited, are assisting the CIAL with the project contractual processes, leading the design and will be managing the project.