A report by E&Y has revealed that extending the runway of New Zealand’s Wellington Airport can deliver up to $1.75bn in direct economic benefits to the country’s economy by 2060 and decrease international travel time by up to a third.

The report also states that the direct economic benefit to the Wellington region will be a total of $684m.

The runway extension will also connect the city to long-haul destinations in Asia and North America, as well as increase connections to Australia. Under the high-growth scenario painted by the report, a total of 33 additional return flights might be expected by 2060, which include 15 to Asia, eight to North America and ten to Australia.

"Analysis shows that travellers flying direct from Wellington to destinations in Asia and North America could save up to 33% of the time it takes for them to make these trips via Auckland."

Wellington Airport chief executive Steve Sanderson said: "The extension would enable the next generation wide-bodied jets to link Wellington with the rapidly expanding Asian market and to North America, growing the number of international visitors to New Zealand and increasing our ability to offer new and more accessible visitor experiences.

"Analysis shows that travellers flying direct from Wellington to destinations in Asia and North America could save up to 33% of the time it takes for them to make these trips via Auckland.

"That saving in both time and cost is particularly important for the region’s businesses, who need to operate as efficiently as possible and expand their global connections."

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The report further states: "There seems to be a large degree of variability in terms of the size of the indirect/induced effects between different airports. Australasian experience suggests slightly lower indirect effects of around double the direct economic benefits.

"In the context of Wellington Airport, this means that an indicative estimate of the scale of induced and indirect economic impacts from the enhanced international connectivity opened up by the runway extension is likely to be in the region of $970m to $1.7bn in addition to the direct benefits."