The Airport Authority is going to tender sometime this week for the development of a master plan, says Authority chief executive Joe Ngamata.
“This master plan will provide the framework needed to guide future development in a rational, prudent and sustainable manner,” he explains.
Ngamata predicts that work on this important future-proofing project should be completed by April next year.
The tender process will involve the hiring of a consultant or company that specialises in airport master planning.
“There are specialist people that do this kind of work,” he says. “In other countries they have specialist people who do that for your airport – we don’t have that here. So we’re tendering it out for consultants or companies who specialise in this area, who will then help us develop this master plan.”
While the Airport Authority has conducted studies in the past for various aspects of the airport’s development, this is the first time an overarching master plan has been commissioned.
“What it does is, the master plan brings some order into your development,” says Ngamata.
“It identifies what your traffic projections should be for the next 20 years, it identifies trigger points where you should be starting to build capacity in your facilities – it’s a means of developing the airport to a plan rather than just reacting to the demand when it comes through and building here and there.”
The commissioning of an airport master plan comes at a busy time for the Rarotonga International Airport, which so far this year has also installed a new $2 million instrument landing system, a new “precision approach” lighting system, refurbished one of its fire engines, added improvements to the carpark, and is working on replacing the 20-year-old heat-expansion joint sealing between the concrete slabs of the runway.