Opening up Southland to the world
Published: Jul 26, 2019 · Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Southlanders will have greater access to New Zealand’s biggest city and the world when the first jet flight from Auckland to Invercargill since 1995 touches down in late August.
Preparations are well underway at Invercargill Airport to upgrade the infrastructure needed to support the jet services, which have received a $500,000 boost by the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).
“This is a wonderful vote of confidence in the future of this airport and in the region’s growing economy,” says Nigel Finnerty, General Manager at Invercargill Airport Limited.
The PGF-supported upgrade includes putting in security screening lanes, x-ray machines, secure lounges, baggage screening areas and bigger parking hardstands for the jets. The Airport will be the first regional airport in New Zealand to have regular passenger jet service operations.
“It’s a big job in a short amount of time, but the benefits and overall outcomes are going to be incredibly exciting for this airport, Invercargill and the wider Southland community.”
The upgrade will require a range of jobs, including electrical, fibre, geotechnical engineering, design and fabrication work. The Airport will also employ seven additional full-time jobs during the 12-month trial of scheduled jet services.
“By the time the new jet arrives, we should have at least seven new full-time roles, and up to 18 part-time roles, and we believe there are around 18 full-time contractor roles involved in the build,” says Mr Finnerty.
At the announcement, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said that the jet service will connect Southland businesses to key local and global markets.
“Through this investment, we’re preparing Invercargill for the growth generated by direct flights to and from Auckland. It will make it easier for Southland-based industries, especially aquaculture, to export their perishable goods to key domestic and international markets,” said Shane Jones.
The investment was announced alongside other PGF investments in Southland last week totalling $1.7 million. The investments were well-received by Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt, who said that the impact of PGF funding went beyond the economic benefits.
“Beside the economic support, it gives us a lot of confidence in our future that the big cities and the Government is willing to invest in our region,” Mayor Shadbolt said.
The other projects announced were:
- Establishment of a business start-up investment network (COIN South) - $550,000
- Oreti managed aquifer recharge pilot (Oreti MAR Limited) - $593,481
- Stewart Island / Rakiura economic development plan (Southland District Council) - $100,000
The maiden flight will touch down in Invercargill on 25 August.