New Zealand’s Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has stated that Taupō Airport will be upgraded and expanded.

The work will be carried out with a government funding boost worth almost NZD5.9m ($3.7m).

The project will modernise the airport terminal, extend the car park and upgrade the runway apron.

It is expected to generate 60 jobs during the construction phase.

Of the NZD5.87m funding, NZD5m will be provided by the Provincial Growth Fund while the central government will provide the remaining $870,000.

Under the NZ Upgrade Programme, NZD300m was allocated towards regional infrastructure investment opportunities. The funding will be directed by the Provincial Development Unit.

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Jones said: “Taupō Airport is the gateway to the Central North Island. It is essential for both keeping local people and businesses connected, but also to bring more people to the region.

“The airport’s current infrastructure limits tourism and growth opportunities. Visitor numbers to the region are growing at a rate of 15% a year. A modern and comfortable airport will grow these numbers, and the regional economy, even further.

“These changes will enable larger planes and more travellers to be accommodated at the airport.”

Last December, Vodafone New Zealand launched a 5G network trial at Wellington Airport to provide travellers with high-speed connectivity.

In August, New Zealand’s Dunedin International Airport installed two advanced imaging machines, known as body scanners, to strengthen security for domestic passengers.

The new body scanners and smart lane X-ray baggage screeners are part of an NZD100m Aviation Security Service Project.