Business North August 2023

6 | REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT Ardmore Airport T T Ange Davidson Airport planning for future growth A resurgence in private aircraft and a focus on New Zealand based aviation-related business has seen a 30 percent growth at Ardmore in the past few years. • Residential • Commercial • Industrial • Repairs & Maintenance • Over 10yrs experience 021 950 706 dylan@nextgenelectrical Proudly supporting Ardmore Airport A private airport in South Auckland is one of New Zealand’s busiest airports and a critical part of the country’s transport infrastructure, emergency response, pilot training and aircraft maintenance. Ardmore Airport is used by as many as 800 different aircraft annually, culminating in over 100,000 aircraft movements in a year. With over 650 people collectively employed at the airport, Ardmore is a key economic hub for the region. Dave Marcellus, chief executive of Ardmore Airport Group, says there is a mix of local and international aviation related businesses at the airport. “New Zealand is a big supplier of aviation services for the global market and Ardmore supplies much of this. Amongst the 100 tenants at Ardmore, there’s a mix of aircraft assembly, sales, engineering and maintenance, avionics, banner towing, agricultural services, and more,” says Dave. “Flight schools are a big part of the airport operations, and we have six based at Ardmore. There are over 300 aircraft based at the aerodrome and they’re a mix of flight training, corporate, agricultural, club and recreational craft.” A resurgence in private aircraft and a focus on New Zealand based aviation-related business has seen a 30% growth at Ardmore in the past few years. Airport growth is set to continue as the company expands into industrial property development at the airport and its first large scale non-aviation venture. Civil works for the 15-hectare commercial and industrial development is now well underway and will be completed in early 2024. This is a significant airport development that will meet a massive demand for quality industrial and commercial property. “This is a new entry in the commercial and industrial market and in the next 10 years, it will be a major employment and economic hub for the region employing thousands of people,” believes Dave. “It is an easy commute from Auckland and is about 35 mins drive from the CBD to Ardmore. It’s only 11km from Manukau City and a short drive from the main commercial centres. There will also be substantial capital works on the aviation infrastructure supporting a range of airport improvements.” Encroaching urban development is a concern for the airport company who are working hard on a range of consultation processes across proposed local developments and commercial projects. The phenomenon of Reverse Sensitivity is a concern for airports with neighbouring developments that are poorly planned and do not consult with the airport. For instance, a developer has recently proposed to build at the end of the airport runway with 75% of its residents being directly under low flying aircraft flight paths for take offs and landings. Future residents may not even be aware of the long-term impacts of this being in their own back yards. “As a community we need to determine how to plan for land use where historically located airports and new urban growth converge,” believes Dave. Ardmore has an interesting history and was originally built by the American Airforce to have a base in New Zealand. The war ended before the airport was put into active service and was transferred to the Ministry of Transport in 1955. The airport hosted competitors and a training track for the British Empire Games in 1950 and was home to Ardmore Teachers College and Auckland University of Engineering from 1948 to 1974. The New Zealand International Grand Prix was held at Ardmore during the late 1950s, attracting crowds of around 80,000 people. Auckland Airport wasn’t identified as a location for the city’s main airport until the 1950s. Previously it was home to a local aero club. The mid-1970s was Ardmore’s heyday as an airport for general aviation and it was finally sold to a private owner in 1995. The Ardmore Airport Group now owns and manages the airport, all infrastructure and utilities, aviation communications and tower facilities, and the property development arm. During emergency operations and responses, Ardmore provides landing and departure of all essential aircraft and emergency services. It also provides the infrastructure for a range of other essential services such as Auckland Rescue Helicopter, Air Ambulance Service, Police and Coast Guard Aircraft, Civil Defence and Patient and Organ Donation Transfer. In acknowledgement of the number of career pilots who learned to fly during military service and the military aircraft that form the backbone of New Zealand’s aviation history, the New Zealand War Birds Association house a collection of service aircraft in full flying condition at Ardmore. The association was originally conceived in 1978 to preserve ex-RNZAF service aircraft but has expanded with the introduction of service aircraft from all over the world. Warbirds on Parade on Sunday 4 June is an opportunity to see these craft in action. For enthusiastic plane spotters, Ardmore Café provides ring side seats to the airfield and runway with great coffee and food. The fully licenced café is available for functions and catering.