Tilting air traffic control tower a nod to Wellington winds

Wellington's new $20m 'tilted' air traffic control tower has been officially opened and will be fully operational on Sunday.

The 32-metre high, 8-storey building leans into the northerly, at a 12.5 degree angle, as a nod to the capital's prevailing wind.

Tim Boyle of Airways NZ described it as one of the safest buildings in the country.

It's been constructed on 13 base isolators and is built to withstand a 10-metre wave in the case of a tsunami.

Staff control 97,000 flights into and out of Wellington Airport each year, or around 260 per day.

"It's a massive leap forward in terms of capability," Mr Boyle said.

Controller Nathan O'Keeffe said it gives controllers a better view of the runway, and it's a much safer building.

"Wellington Airport is in a harsh maritime environment," Mr Boyle said

It's expected to be one of the last 'bricks and mortar' airport control towers built in the country.

"Technology means the view over runways can be replicated by cameras and screens, so we won't need to build structures," Mr Boyle said.

But complexities in designing the building on a lean mean the tower has opened 12 months later than planned.

Mr Boyle hopes the 'leaning tower' will become something of an icon in Wellington.