When the main terminal was opened in 1999 around 9,500 passengers flowed through the airport each day, but this has now shot up to 15,000 on average with busy days reaching up to 20,000.
The extension will add another 30 metres to the terminal building, double the width of both southern piers, provide extra gate lounge space, new retail and food and beverage offerings, double the number of toilets and more parking spaces for aircraft.
Floor to ceiling windows and laminated timber cross-braces will span the full length of the southwest pier.
This strong architectural feature will enhance one of the key features of the airport being a hub of natural light with views over the runway and Lyall Bay.
Steve Sanderson, chief executive of Wellington Airport, says: “The extension to the terminal and apron will ensure the Wellington region continues to provide a world class, vibrant experience for an ever growing number of travellers.
“The extension will provide a refreshing, open space with easy movement throughout the terminal, clear signs and a centralised screening point for all passengers. It will be a very comfortable place to welcome and farewell visitors, family and friends.”
The airport has appointed Hawkins as the main contractor for the extension, which will take around one and a half years to complete.
Hawkins CEO, Geoff Hunt, says: “At Hawkins our goal is to deliver high quality projects that everyone involved can be proud of, while creating a great experience for our clients, and their communities throughout the project.
"This directly aligns with the airport’s’ vision to ensure that the passenger experience at Wellington Airport is the very best it can be.”
The extension to the main terminal will initially cater for 5.5 million passengers that arrive and depart Wellington each year, including 750,000 flying internationally.
Sanderson adds: “We also needed to ensure it is future proofed and consistent with the existing terminal and long-term expansion plans.
“Coupled with this are the needs for safe, effective and efficient airport operations for airlines, travellers and regulatory requirements such as aviation security.”
Total passenger numbers are forecast to increase by around 135,000 per year, and over the next five years the international market is forecast to rise by nearly 30% and the domestic market by 10%.
Picture courtesy of Warren and Mahoney Architects