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Masterton District Council is delighted its work on the Hood Aerodrome Masterplan has been recognised in the 2022 NZ Airports Awards.

Development of the masterplan saw the Council awarded the Small Airport Commercial and Non-Aeronautical Award last week by the NZ Airports Association.

Judges said called the master planning process “thorough and highly professional”.

“This ‘best practice’ example of master planning is expected to provide long-term benefits to the airport and community, and support all of its business activities – including a popular air show, future aviation infrastructure needs and other commercial opportunities.”

Development of the masterplan with BECA followed the announcement in 2020 by Finance Minister Grant Robertson of funding for Hood Aerodrome as part of the Government’s package to kick-start economies post COVID-19.

The funding provides $10 million for infrastructure upgrades at the Aerodrome.

The masterplan sets out how and where development should proceed to enhance Hood’s value to Wairarapa as regional aviation hub.

Aerodrome Manager David Hayes said the development work would significantly increase the Wairarapa’s resilience in case of natural disaster or emergency.

“Developing the masterplan was the major element of first stage in development,” he said. “It was important that we engaged stakeholders and the community, and this award has recognised the value of that process.”

Project Manager Martyn Round said the masterplan was an essential first step and engaging the community was a necessity.

“The masterplan has provided a guide to how we can improve infrastructure at Hood in a way protects options for the future. Input from the community and stakeholders was key to ensuring the masterplan is fit for purpose.”

Since the masterplan was approved, a $40,000 project to replace the boundary fence down South Road and along the river has been completed. This has increased security and prevented dogs from straying on to the aerodrome.

Moncrieff Drive has been widened and sealed ($116,000), and a security fence and automatic gate installed ($25,000).

A $6500 condition assessment of the runway has been carried out, as has an aeronautical study required by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as a result of the council adopting the master plan. This $50,000 work involved a risk assessment of infrastructure changes recommended in the masterplan.

As part of improving infrastructure, improved water and wastewater, and electrical services to the new hangar area have been improved ($140,000). A $180,000 upgrade of the refuelling area has also been completed.

Widening the runway is a key element of the masterplan – currently LifeFlight requires a dispensation to fly into Hood. As part of the preparation work for this runway work, the Council has provided a risk assessment to CAA of the proposed runway end safety areas (RESA).