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Largest upgrade to Wellington Airport’s terminal since 1999

Press Release – Wellington Airport Limited

Wellington Airport has begun preliminary demolition work ahead of a $15 million upgrade of the airports main terminal building.

Media Release

For immediate release

3 July 2018

Work underway for largest upgrade to Wellington Airport’s terminal since 1999

Wellington Airport has begun preliminary demolition work ahead of a $15 million upgrade of the airport’s main terminal building.

The upgrade covers approximately 6,000 square metres in the main terminal’s public area, equivalent to the size of 12 basketball courts, and will result in the largest visual change to the main terminal since the current terminal opened in 1999. The work will be carried out progressively over the next 12 months.

Once completed, visitors will have expansive views across the terminal to aircraft and the coast, according to Wellington Airport’s chief commercial officer Matt Clarke, “The upgrade will transform the airport’s main terminal to a light, open space where travellers can intuitively find their way to and from their flights.”

The upgrade will also provide an opportunity for emerging Wellington brands as well as established retailers to create retail and dining offerings for the six million domestic and international passengers visiting the Wellington region every year.

“Our recent extension of the southern part of the terminal gives a flavour of what’s about to come. The refreshed space with brands like Best Ugly Bagels has been welcomed by the public and this next phase will build on that. Passengers want to see the best of global and local brands reflected in their airport.”

Preliminary demolition works are already underway which involve redistributing two large air conditioning units from the main terminal’s level one into the airport’s ceiling space, where the current food court is located.

This project is part of a number of significant works in progress at Wellington Airport, including a new multi-level car park and transport hub and a 134-room four star hotel to be operated by Rydges both due to open in 2018.

Interested retail operators can keep an eye out on the Wellington Airport website at for information on tender submissions which open later in the year.


Wellington Airport terminal history

When Wellington Airport was first opened in 1959 the converted De Havilland aircraft hangar was supposedly a temporary fix, with a new terminal building planned to be in place within 5 years. It didn’t quite happen – in fact the “tin shed” hung on for 40-odd years with various add-ons and “improvements” until the new terminal opened in 1999.

• First aeroplane flight from Wellington by Mr. Arthur Schaef – 1910

• Grass runway opens – 1929

• De Havilland factory opens – 1939

• Prime minister announces Rongotai as Wellington’s airport – 1948

• 28 hectares of land reclaimed – 1953-1959

• De Havilland factory converted into main terminal – 1958

• Grand opening of Wellington Airport – 1959

• Runway extended to handle DC8 aircraft – 1972

• International pier opens – 1977

• Ansett terminal opens – 1987

• Southern pier opens – 1997

• Southwest pier opens – 1998

• Car park building opens – 1998

• Infratil buys 66% of airport from the Crown – 1998

• New main terminal building opens – 1999

• Airport retail park opens – 2005

• Southern tunnel opens – 2006

• Southern runway safety area extension – 2007

• The Rock international terminal opens – 2010

• Corporate jet hangar opens – 2011

• Transport and parking upgrade – 2013

• Main terminal and south-west pier expansion – 2016

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