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Hawke's Bay Airport remains resilient despite set backs

Hawke’s Bay Airport chief executive Stuart Ainslie says the airport will remain operational despite several set backs over the last 12 months including the current global Covid 19 crisis which has had a major impact on the aviation industry globally.

Last week Airways Limited, announced it will start a consultation process to close its traffic control towers at Hawke’s Bay Airport and six other regional airports.

Hawke’s Bay Airport is two thirds through a terminal expansion, which was hit by the liquidation of construction firm Arrow International in March 2019; domestic carrier Jet Star withdrew from regional routes in New Zealand last December and now Covid 19 has brought domestic air travel to a standstill.

“It’s certainly been a bumpy ride. There’s been a lot to deal with, but Hawke’s Bay Airport is resilient and we have a can do attitude as proven when we created our own construction entity, to complete the terminal expansion.”

Mr Ainslie said his team, all working remotely, have joined forces with the New Zealand Airports Association to work with Airways as part of a consultation process to ensure airports can continue to operate safely.

“We are all working hard to understand what the potential impacts there will be in the short to longer term, specifically on the recovering schedules as growth and volume return.  

“It’s important to highlight that the airport can continue to operate safely and will remain open for business. 

 “The situation the aviation industry is facing is pretty dire, but there will be a new ‘business as usual’ at some stage and Hawke’s Bay Airport will be here for the people of Hawke’s Bay.

“We are a desirable region to visit as well as to do business with and our regional stakeholders such as Tourism Hawke’s Bay and our councils are committed on economic recovery.

Mr Ainslie said since Level 4 was introduced the airport has gone from 55 movements per day to only a few essential travel flights landing and taking off with no scheduled activity. 

As a result the airport’s operating revenues have been severely impacted but staff have been working on a number of business recovery scenarios with the board, shareholders and key aviation stakeholders.