New parking plan at Hawke's Bay Airport

Motorists arriving at Hawke's Bay Airport will next year be using a new entrance to the airport's carpark as airport bosses reconfigure its parking system to improve traffic flow.

The airport is part way through a major makeover with the new Watchman Rd entrance now open and stage one of the $20.2 million Airport Terminal expansion due to open in mid-January.

Hawke's Bay Airport chief executive Stuart Ainslie said the new entrance way had been well received and was operating extremely well, adding the airport carpark would be reconfigured and new parking payment technology introduced as the airport aims to further improve the visitor experience.

"The new Watchman Rd entrance is a major step up as a gateway to the airport and after a few weeks of observing vehicle movements and parking trends, we have decided to expedite the reconfiguration of the parking facility.

"We will take a staged approach over the next few months with the first step being a new entry point to the main carpark which will enable more efficient access to the main parking area and should also serve to reduce traffic movements in front of the terminal.

"The significant growth in passengers has had an obvious impact across the business, including a big increase in vehicle movements. This means that it is now unrealistic to always find a park in front of the terminal.

"However, in an effort to control congestion and optimise short stay capacity with close proximity, the airport will be actively enforcing the time limits on the P120 parks and ensuring that vehicles are not dwelling in the pick-up and drop-off zone."

Ainslie said the proposed realignment of existing entry and exits will improve traffic flow and new signage will assist visitors to navigate their way around the roading system.

He said new car parking payment technology will also be introduced and the airport would consider options through a tender process.

"We are looking at minimising the reliance on the ticket machines and exploring online payment methods via a website portal and apps. There is a range of payment technology options available and we want to look at systems that are customer friendly as well as enabling us to better understand visitor trends.

"We will continue to closely monitor capacity to ensure there are sufficient parking spaces to deal with the increased passenger movements we are experiencing."

Ainslie said as the new terminal reopens over three stages, airport staff would continue to focus on minimising congestion in the pick-up/drop off area in front of the terminal.

"It's a safety issue as much as a parking and congestion issue. This area needs to be kept as clear as possible and is only for prompt drop-offs and pick-ups."