Tarras site capable of supporting a single runway – Christchurch Airport Report

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Tarras farmland at Christchurch Airport may support an international airport, an investigation has found.

The sign for the town of Otago Tarras, where land has been purchased for a potential airport.
Photo: RNZ / Timothy Brown

Christchurch Airport today released its preliminary aeronautical assessment of its site in the small settlement of Central Otago.

She bought 750 hectares of farmland in Tarras – which is home to just a few hundred people – in the hopes of one day building a capable international airport.

Tarras is approximately 30 kilometers from the nearby town of Cromwell and 90 kilometers from Queenstown.

The proposal was accepted [. https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/422328/locals-pack-tarras-hall-to-hear-about-town-s-potential-as-flight-destination strong push back] from the community.

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The evaluation of Christchurch Airport was carried out with the aviation consultancy firm Airbiz and the support of technical specialists.

The main finding showed that the site was able to support an airfield with a single runway of at least 2.2 kilometers.

Project director Michael Singleton said the assessment released today was just a small step forward.

“The results are encouraging but they are not definitive. This assessment has given us the confidence to undertake the next step of a more detailed analysis to determine a preferred single track alignment,” he said.

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The assessment identified two potential trail alignments – one aligning with Lindis Valley and Lake Dunstan, the other with Hawea Valley and Lake Dunstan.

“This initial assessment shows that the two options enable the safe and efficient operation of a variety of aircraft types, including new generation narrow and wide-body jets, freight aircraft, turboprop and small passenger aircraft,” Singleton said.

The site might even allow a longer track of up to 3 kilometers, but more analysis was needed to confirm this.

“A single 2.2 km track could serve all of New Zealand’s domestic routes and some short-haul international destinations such as Australia and parts of the Pacific,” Singleton said.

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“In general, a longer trail creates more opportunities for the region it serves as it allows businesses and people to connect to more destinations. Our job is to think long term and identify the opportunities that this site may offer in the future.

The preliminary assessment also found that the two alignments would allow aircraft to connect to existing flight paths and had similar emission profiles.

There was still a lot of work to be done, such as an in-depth sound impact assessment and validation of preliminary results which were to last until 2023.

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