Aircraft lands at Chatham Islands airport.

New Zealand’s most regional airport is one step closer to being complete. The Provincial Growth Fund is giving $98,000 to Chatham Islands Airport to help finish operational developments on the site.

“This is the next step in a vital project for the Chatham Islands, the lengthening and strengthening of the community-owned Inia William Tuuta Memorial Airport,” said Allan MacGibbon, board chair, Airport Company.

The current project involves lengthening the 1370 metre runway out to 1850 metres and strengthening it for larger and faster aircraft like Boeing 737s. The overall goal is to ensure the airport can cater to the social and economic needs of the Chatham Islands for the next 30 to 50 years.

“There is little doubt that without the Provincial Growth Fund there is little likelihood of the Island Community having the means to advance this project.”

The airport has recently had operational improvements including solar runway lighting upgrades, as well as survey, geotechnical and technical design work.