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Wellington International Airport, Wellington, New Zealand

June 9th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Wellington International Airport (IATA: WLG, ICAO: NZWN) is on the Rongotai isthmus, 7 km southeast of central Wellington, New Zealand's capital city.

It is a major domestic hub, and has links to the major cities of Australia. In 2005 it served 4.6 million passengers.

The airport occupies 110 hectares , a small area for the number of passengers it handles.

The current site opened in 1959, Wellington's airport previously being to the north, at Paraparaumu Airport on the Kapiti Coast. The original length of the runway was 1630 m (5350 ft), and was extended to its current length of 1936 m in the early 1970s, to handle DC8s.

Wellington Airport's original domestic terminal was built as a temporary measure inside a corrugated iron hangar, originally used to assemble de Havilland aircraft, and was not replaced for many decades. It was known for being overcrowded, leaky and draughty. An upgrade of the domestic terminal, budgeted at NZ$10 million, was announced in 1981, but by 1983 the plans were shelved after cost projections more than doubled. The terminal was extensively refurbished in 1986 by Air New Zealand, and Ansett New Zealand built a new terminal as an extension to the international terminal when it commenced competing domestic air services in 1986.

In 1991, the airport released plans to widen the taxiway to CAA AC139-06a specifications and acquire extra space, which were abandoned after protests from local residents. The plan involved the removal of the nearby Miramar Golf Course and a large number of residential and commercial properties. The Airport purchased land from the Miramar Golf Course in 1994 for car park space.

As recently as 1992, several alternate sites for Wellington Airport were considered - Te Horo, Paraparaumu, Mana Island, Ohariu Valley, Horokiwi, Wairarapa and Pencarrow, but a decision was made to upgrade the existing site at Rongotai. A major new terminal was completed in 1999 and integrated with the international terminal, which had been built as an abortive first stage of a whole new terminal in 1979, and construction is under way to create a 90 m safety zone at the south end of the runway in order to comply with ICAO safety regulations. A similar zone will be constructed at the runway's north end.

Since 1998 the airport has been two-thirds privately owned by Infratil, with the remaining third owned by the Wellington City Council.

In late 2003 the airport installed a large statue of Gollum on the terminal in order to promote the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, since removed

[Source: Wikipedia]

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