Whanganui Airport runway resurfacing / terminal renovation
- Project typeInfrastructure / facility refurbishment
- Project valueRunway: c.$6M / terminal renovations: c.$900k
- Contractor nameRunway: Fulton Hogan / Terminal: W&W Construction
- Completion Date30 November 2023
Whanganui Airport’s runway is being resurfaced during October and November 2023, with the airport's terminal building also being renovated over the same period.
Whanganui Airport is essential local infrastructure, critical to keeping the city and district connected to the rest of New Zealand and beyond.
Regular daily flights for visitors and commuters are provided by Air Chathams between Whanganui and Auckland. The airport is also the base for Air Whanganui's air ambulance service (medevac), the New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy, Mid West Helicopters, and Ravensdown Aerowork among others.
Central to maintaining services for all airport users is the runway. The runway was last resurfaced with chipseal in 2007, and regular maintenance work to seal surface cracks has occurred each year since 2017.
The existing surface continues to deteriorate with increasing amounts of chipseal becoming loose due to oxidisation of the bitumen and general wear-and-tear of the surface. If left unchecked, this could create an unsafe surface for aircraft to operate from.
Fulton Hogan has been awarded the contract to resurface the runway, including the taxiway and apron – the new asphalt surface is expected to have a lifespan of 15 years. The runway will be resurfaced in successive stages to allow the airport to fully reopen during the day over the work period. Once the new surface is completely laid, new permanent runway markings will be applied.
This project and other current airport infrastructure upgrades (see Airport terminal renovations below) are being co-funded through the Whanganui Airport Joint Venture between Whanganui District Council and Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport.
Project benefits / outcomes
- Airport functionality as a critical lifeline utility to Whanganui ensured for the next 15+ years
- Whanganui District Council is investing in essential infrastructure for the future of Whanganui
- Assured medical evacuation (medevac) flight services
- Local economic return – eg: accommodation, meals, transportation expenses, tourism activities – from contractors engaged in the upgrade projects.
Runway project schedule
- Please also be advised the runway area will be under lighting throughout the overnight work period during the project
- Construction work for the project is scheduled to begin on 24 October and conclude on 30 November 2023.
- UPDATE – due to delays from recent rain, the resurfacing work has been extended to six nights a week – this means contractor vehicles will now operate between 6.00pm and 6.00am from Sunday evening through to Saturday morning until the end of November (the work was originally scheduled to take place in five overnight shifts from Sunday evening through to Friday morning).
- The airport will be closed to all aircraft from 7.30pm on each work night and reopen at 6.30am the following morning to ensure that scheduled Air Chathams flights are not affected by the work. Other airport users have been advised of the work closures
- Asphalt for the project will be sourced from a plant in Bulls and transported by small fleet of trucks to Whanganui for each overnight shift. It's estimated that 48 truck movements in each direction will occur along Wikitoria Road / Airport Road during each overnight shift
- Although the majority of truck movements will occur overnight when there is less traffic, residents on Wikitoria Road, Tenga Street, Bates Road, Onetere Drive, Landguard Road and Airport Road will be informed of any possible disturbance or inconvenience before the project commences. These residents are asked to please be aware of truck movements in the area if travelling at night during the work period.
Update – 28 November 2023
The airport’s taxiway and apron areas are now the final parts of the runway resurfacing project to be completed. All overnight work by contractor Fulton Hogan is expected to be finished during the night of Thursday, 30 November, weather permitting.
Update – 15 November 2023
The day works for the hardstand area in front of Air Whanganui #1 hangar has started.
Fulton Hagan is delivering a new hardstand area to accommodate new aircraft being operated from Whanganui for the air ambulance service.
Update – 3 November 2023
Contractor Fulton Hogan has encountered several delays in the project schedule since beginning work due to unfavourable weather conditions. Because of these delays, overnight work has been extended to a six-day shift from the previous five to remain on schedule (pictured above, Fulton Hogan crews about to start their overnight shift on 31 October).
Despite the delays, planned progress of between 80m to 100m of resurfaced runway – these are referred to as “lots” (two completed lots as of 30 October pictured below) – over a total runway length of nearly 1.4km has occurred each night during the scheduled work period.
Fulton Hogan began the resurfacing work at the runway’s eastern end, and are expected to reach the mid-point of the runway in approximately a week’s time. At this halfway mark, crews will reverse direction and work back from the western end to the centre of runway to complete the asphalt resurfacing.
Runway project specifications
- Resurfacing work includes the airport's runway, taxiway and apron areas – a total area of 72,200m2
- The new runway surface will consist of a 30m-wide strip of asphalt over its entire length, with 7.5m of shoulder area on either side paved with chipseal
- An additional hardstand area of about 890m2 will also be built in front of Air Whanganui's #1 hangar
- About 600 tonnes (or up to 50 truckloads) of asphalt will be laid by approximately 30 contracting staff during each shift using heavy construction machinery – a road milling machine, paver and rollers – along with other utility vehicles
- The worksite will be illuminated by 10 light towers during each shift.
Runway resurfacing supporting documents
Airport terminal renovations
Local contractor W&W Construction began work in August 2023 to replace the roof on Whanganui Airport’s terminal building. The terminal will also have its exterior repainted while the roofing scaffolding is in place.
The terminal has been covered by a construction tent during the reroofing period to allow for the usual day-to-day operation of airport facilities and services. All work is expected to be completed by early November 2023. Passenger and visitor access to the terminal, as well as car parking areas, are not affected by this work.
Front view of Whanganui Airport's terminal covered in a construction tent during its reroofing process
Side view of Whanganui Airport's terminal covered in a construction tent during its reroofing process
Airport terminal reroofing - internal view under construction tent
Airport terminal reroof - internal view showing W & W Construction workers
Update – 28 November 2023
Construction tent removed
Reroofing work on the airport’s terminal building is nearing completion with the removal of the construction tent as of 28 November. The terminal will be repainted once the roofing scaffolding has been removed.
21 Airport Road, Whanganui, Whanganui 4501 View Map