Kāpiti locals promise to fight to save their airport

Kāpiti locals are vowing to fight a second time around to save their local airport.

Two years ago, the airport was almost dealt a fatal blow when Air New Zealand pulled its route there, and now post-COVID-19 its future is unknown again.

The airport's owner says it's looking at its options for the future since it's facing economic and safety problems, but there are some suggestions it could close as soon as next month.

It was bought by NZ PropCo last year, and it met with the local mayor over the potential closure on Friday.

Chamber of Commerce chairperson Jacinda Thorn says after the locals first fought for the airport after Air New Zealand pulled the route there, they're now preparing for round two.

"If they do decide to close the airport they will have a huge fight on their hands. I've spoken to a lot of people today who are all really upset and concerned about what it could mean. We won't let it go easily," she says.

Kāpiti Mayor K. Gurunathan is challenging NZ PropCo to come up with another plan.

"Look, you'll face this huge opposition from the public so can you come up with something that'll blow our mind. A vision not just for your own block but it is really good for the whole district," he says.

"If you are saying that the airport is not sustainable open your books and show us."

The National Party's Ōtaki candidate Tim Costley says the new owners want to make some quick money by redeveloping the land.

"If they think they are going to come here and make a quick dollar at the expense of the local community, then they need to be looking somewhere else."

But rezoning airport land for resident development wouldn't be straight forward, Gurunathan says.

"It's going to take easily four years or more. It is going to be dragged out because it will be publicly notified, and you know that I've mentioned the strong feelings in this community."

Local business owners and airport users are due to meet on Monday night to discuss the issues, and say any attempt to rezone the airport land will be met by fierce public opposition.