“A lot of large industrial, commercial, and distribution facilities are looking to move out of Auckland where space is scarce or expensive. Hamilton represents an affordable option with excellent transport connections and more affordable housing,” says Morgan.

Hamilton Airport Chief Executive Mark Morgan says the Airport’s planned Northern Precinct is desperately needed for the development-starved southwestern side of Hamilton city, supporting residential growth in the Peacocke suburb.

Speaking on Lodge’s Home Truths Podcast, Morgan said development south of Hamilton city had been slow and starved of opportunity, despite a growing demand for industrial and commercial property and plans for 8000 more houses in the nearby Peacocke suburb.

A plan change by the Airport’s property arm and Rukuhia Property Ltd, to develop 130ha of land surrounding Hamilton Airport from rural to commercial industrial zone, is now on hold with appeals lodged by Forest & Bird, DOC and Waikato Regional Council over concerns about impacts to Pekapeka or the native Long-tailed Bat.

Morgan says they are committed to navigating the concerns while unlocking the potential of the city’s southwestern corridor to support growth.

“Peacocke over time will bring several thousand homeowners into the area and having an industrial and commercial precinct within a few minutes allows for residents in that area to walk and cycle to work. We see the area as providing a hub of activity into the future,” says Morgan.

“A lot of large industrial, commercial, and distribution facilities are looking to move out of Auckland where space is scarce or expensive. Hamilton represents an affordable option with excellent transport connections and more affordable housing,” says Morgan.

Southern Links and the city’s newest bridge over the Waikato River would unlock the southwestern side of the city he says, also providing fast connections to the city centre and the University of Waikato.

"We've just completed a master plan for the airport up to 2052. We are clear we are an airport with a property arm, but our plan is a mix of capital investments and land diversification to support growth,” says Morgan.

One quarter of all New Zealand’s aviation activity is now conducted out of Hamilton Airport and the addition of companies like Menzies Aviation, which currently services one Boeing 747 every six weeks and Rotorcraft which is servicing most of the North Island’s helicopters was seeing the Airport transition into an aeronautical base.

There was also work towards accommodating the private commercial jet market as Auckland Airport became more congested and they are working to secure a new flight training school.

“Our 10-year strategy has diversification in place. We found after Covid we had placed an overreliance on aeronautical income. Today it represents about one third of our income as opposed to the previous 80 percent,” says Morgan.

He says Hamilton’s future is looking bright with the city representing a safe option for investment, and plans for development on the southwestern side of the city were exciting.

“There is significant confidence in Hamilton. We are a relatively safe geographical area and close to Auckland. We have two thirds of New Zealand’s population living north of Taupō and 1.5 million people living within 1.5 hours of Hamilton Airport, there are still real untapped opportunities here,” says Morgan.