Whenuapai residents blast Air New Zealand's suggestion for second airport

Residents near Whenuapai have slammed Air New Zealand's suggestion it could possibly schedule flights to depart from the west Auckland airport.

An airport currently exists at Whenuapai, but it's a Royal New Zealand Air Force base and does not operate commercial passenger flights.

Outgoing Air NZ chief executive Christopher Luxon on Thursday suggested that could change in the future.

"Air New Zealand is very interested in the viability of Whenuapai as a second Auckland region airport hub as part of our growth strategy.

"Our customers are telling us loud and clear that the transport infrastructure to get to and from Auckland airport is suboptimal, especially for the large percentage who live north of the Harbour Bridge or in west Auckland."

But Upper Harbour local board chair Margaret Miles told Newshub residents near Whenuapai aren't happy with the proposal at all.

"[Residents] are basically saying this has got to be a crazy idea. Look at the housing intensity here, traffic would be horrendous. How could anybody possibly suggest it?"

Miles said opening up Whenuapai for Air New Zealand flights would not be a better option for transport.

"The roads here are not going to cater, they're barely catering now with the level of development that's been occurring in Hobsonville in the Whenuapai area."

Air New Zealand is suggesting it could operate several services a day between Whenuapai and Wellington and Christchurch. It's also looking into flights to Queenstown, Napier, Nelson and Palmerston North.