Wellington Airport’s expansion plans at odds with city’s zero emissions plan, environmental group says [RNZ, 05/02/21]

An environmental organisation is calling for a halt to Wellington airport’s expansion plans.

Wellington, New Zealand - January 04, 2019: Aeroplane at the Wellington terminal gate ready for takeoff during sunset on Wellington, New Zealand.

Wellington Airport (file image). Photo: RNZ, 123RF

While international air travel might have ground to a halt, Wellington Airport’s $1 billion expansion plans are getting ready for takeoff.

The airport is currently consulting with the public on some of the early development, which will see the airport grow out into the neighbouring suburbs.

Public feedback is currently being sought on some of the early development.

But Eleanor West, a Wellington-based volunteer for environmental group Generation Zero, said the plans did not make sense.

The capital has committed to being net zero emissions by 2050, and a more than 40-percent reduction by 2030.

“Our main opposition to the airport expanding is that that’s putting more emissions in the air,” West said.

“If we’re having more planes in Wellington, then that’s not going to be good for our climate change outcomes.”

The development is part of the airport’s 2040 “Master Plan” – the blueprint for accommodating a forecasted 12 million passengers passing through every year.Artist impression of Wellington Airport upgrade.

Artist impression of the Wellington Airport upgrade. Photo: Supplied

That’s nearly double the number of passengers which came through in 2019.

And while their expansion plan was conceived pre-Covid-19, in a statement, the airport said the impact of the last 12 months was not slowing it down.

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