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Consultation opens on Dairy Flat airport

Posted at 5:18pm Tuesday 13 Oct, 2020

The North Shore Aero Club at Dairy Flat is seeking Airport Authority status – a process that involves considerable effort and time, including consultation and a decision that rests ultimately with Government.

A public meeting about the proposal will be held on October 29.

In its application, the aero club says that it was well advanced in drafting its application prior to Covid-19. “The rapid unfolding chain of events has reinforced the importance of now lodging this application,” the document says.

If successful, Airport Authority status would support further development of the airport, however general manager John Puncheon says the application is mainly about protecting its position as Dairy Flat develops.

The area surrounding the airport is zoned business and light industrial and the creation of the North Shore Airport Precinct in the Auckland Unitary Plan provides certainty and town planning regulatory support to protect its future operations. However, Mr Puncheon says the club, which owns and runs the airport, wants to ensure that future development, particularly the location of proposed roads, works in synergy with the airport.

“Our number one concern is safety – making sure the airport's operations are safe, and that future planning doesn't compromise that,” he says.

Airport Authority status allows an organisation to make its own bylaws, which must be Government approved, and for compulsory acquisition of land (with approval from the Minister of Lands).

It does not change the number or size of aircraft permitted to use the airport and surrounding airspace, however it may support further development of the airport, which could have the effect of attracting more aircraft.

The facility already provides flights to Great Barrier Island on planes with up to 15-seats and Mr Puncheon says the club is keen to see a few more regional services and runway upgrades.

He says any such work must provide benefits to members.

“There is a desire for a moderate increase, but being realistic, there is no way it is ever going to become a significant airport and we don't want that,” he says. “Maybe we could look at a bit bigger than 15-seaters, but we are not talking big aircraft by any stretch of the imagination.”

The application states that airport management are of the view that public consultation on Airport Authority status is not needed, as it was addressed during the formation of the Unitary Plan.

Nevertheless, consultation with “affected stakeholders” is a key part of the process and a public meeting is being held on Thursday, October 29 at the Dairy Flat Community Hall, 6 Postman Road, Dairy Flat, starting 7pm. To attend, RSVP by emailing airports@transport.govt.nz.

Info and submissions: transport.govt.nz/air/airport-authority-status/north-shore-airports-application, email airports@transport.govt.nz or in writing to North Shore Airport Consultation, Ministry of Transport, PO Box 3175, Wellington, 6140.
Submissions close on November 9.

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