$5.5m for Gisborne airport redevelopment

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest $5.5 million in the redevelopment of Gisborne Airport, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.

The total cost of the redevelopment is $12.5 million and will be co-funded by the PGF, Eastland Group Ltd and the Eastland Community Trust. The funding will be administered as a loan.

“Tairāwhiti is the world’s easternmost city and is relatively isolated from other population hubs. This means that efficient air travel is vital to the local economy,” Shane Jones said.

“Reliable air connections provide businesses with opportunities to expand and grow, as well as bring more visitors to the regions, providing opportunities for businesses based in Tairāwhiti to grow their offerings locally.

“In the year to July 2018, international visitor spending increased by 17.9 per cent and domestic tourists spending was also up 17.0 per cent. To capitalise on such strong growth, it’s important that Tairāwhiti has an airport terminal that is accessible, and provides essential services and facilities.

“The redevelopment will ensure the airport terminal reflects the unique cultural aspects of Tairāwhiti, closely linking with the region’s Navigations themed tourism initiative which has also received funding from the PGF today. With the 2019 Sestercentennial celebrations to be hosted by the region, the project will cater to expected demand, as well as help tell the story of the region.

“The Government recognises that many regional airports are looking to improve their resilience and contribute to their region’s economic development plans. This is why we are also considering the wider role that air connectivity can play and how we can measure its value to regions.

“It is important that PGF investments are targeted where they can be of the most benefit to local productivity and economic and social development.

“Gisborne has a clear case for funding given its remoteness and economic potential. However, we want to understand where else this need exists and what can be done to support air connections into these local communities,” Shane Jones said.