Invercargill Airport enters new era

Today Southlanders have celebrated the opening of the final stage of Invercargill Airport's terminal building.

The airport has 275,000 passengers through it each year, up from 44,000 in 1963, when a terminal was built.

Invercargill's first terminal was built in 1963, but the airport suffered major flooding in 1978 and 1984.

In 2011, it became clear the airport was inflexible in its design for modern airlines, and it had significant seismic issues.

"The airport is the first welcome point to our region for many," says Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt.

"The airport is a showcase of Southland, designed to utilise natural light and constructed using natural materials."

It has an "apron layout" design, which means the airport is able to accommodate a range of aircraft types.

This opening follows the first redevelopment stage, which opened in June last year.

The first redevelopment involved construction of check-in facilities, a café, amenities, apron works and a temporary concourse.

The second part involves a new baggage reclaim area, an Air New Zealand lounge, car rental kioks, meeting rooms and Invercargill Airport offices.

Public and rental car parking areas have also been redesigned, and new roads lead into the terminal building area.

Chairperson of the Invercargill Airport Board Joe O'Connell says the project was made possible by $13 million of equity provided by shareholders.

Air New Zealand was a major stakeholder in the redevelopment.

"We are pleased that the project has come in on budget and despite some challenging weather conditions, was completed only six weeks later than estimated," says Mr O'Connell.