Taupo Airport has taken out the prestigious Regional Airport of the Year Award at the NZ Airports Association’s annual conference; highlighting a successful few years for the Airport including some major redevelopments and a more commercially orientated direction.
The criteria for the Regional Airport of the Year award – reserved for airports with less than 500,000 passengers per year – required the completion of an initiative that had clearly contributed to the success of the airport in areas including customer satisfaction, aviation safety, environmental sustainability and partnership with stakeholders in the past year.
Taupo Airport submitted a proposal on the success of its recent runway resurfacing and apron extension projects. Airport Manager Mike Groome accepted the award at the NZ Airports Association annual conference last week in Wellington. “I was very humbled and a bit shocked to win the award, but it is an honour for our little airport and another great achievement for Taupō,” says Mr Groome.
The recent apron extension has meant there is more space for private and commercial jets to land at Taupō Airport without disrupting regular traffic. “We have had nine private jets visit Taupō since the beginning of October, which is a significant boost to the Airport’s income but also has further economic benefit to the local economy.”
Taupō Mayor, and Chair of the Taupō Airport Authority, Rick Cooper, says the award is proof of the hard work that has been done over the last five years to change things at the Airport. “We now have a more customer focused approach to business and have a clear direction for the future of the Airport.”
Mayor Rick says the new customer focus, as well as better safety practices, has been important to attract companies to lease land at the Airport. “We have now run out of space and are looking for more, which is a really positive indication of how things have progressed.”
Mr Groome says the Airport has had to look at the way it does business and diversify from being simply a domestic stop-over. “Domestic flights only make up about 13 percent of our traffic so we have had to look at other income sources. We are now the fourth busiest regional airport in the country, and the eleventh busiest overall.”
Taupō Airport Authority Committee member, Councillor Chris Johnston, says the recent establishment of IzardAir at Taupō Airport was a welcome addition. “It’s great having a private commercial air charter like IzardAir share our space. Like us they have big plans for the future of Taupō Airport; including setting up as a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) allowing Taupō to be a ‘port of entry’ for flights direct from Australia.”