Airport Ownership To Be Reviewed

Monday 25 June 2012, 5:11PM
By Far North District Council


The Far North District Council may take back ownership of the Bay of Islands Airport at Kerikeri from its commercial trading company Far North Holdings Ltd.

The move follows protracted discussions on how to fund future airport maintenance and improvements to meet the standards needed to satisfy aviation authorities and the requirements of major commercial carriers.

The company has asked the council for $245,000 a year for the next two years to part-fund critical maintenance on the taxiway and apron.

A similar sum was requested from the Northland Regional Council to complete the balance of the funding needed ($980,000).

As an interim measure the council has agreed to lend the funds requested to the company at commercial rates.

But the company must satisfy the council of the urgency of the work and show that it has funds to complete the project.

The council has also indicated it intends to review whether the airport should remain within the company's portfolio.

Returning the airport to council ownership could open up funding options not otherwise available.

The council also isn’t ruling out the idea of the Northland Regional Council having an ownership role.

Far North Holdings had asked the district and regional council to contribute to a $5 million, five-year runway maintenance and works programmed aimed at improving airport facilities in the hope of attracting a one-third share of costs from central government.

But the proposal was withdrawn when it became clear government participation was unlikely.

The regional council has declined to participate this year, but has left the door open for ongoing discussions on future funding options.