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"THE general pattern of the development of air services to New Zealand drawn by the Commonwealth Air Transport Conference has as one important feature the location of the New Zealand terminal at Auckland. This is of such importance to the future of Auckland that exceptional efforts will be justified to ensure that the terminal facilities needed are not only adequate, but, as in so far as natural conditions will permit, as nearly perfect as possible. Some cities are world-renowned for their harbours; in the future some will be renowned for their airports. Auckland should not be satisfied with anything but the best. Both vision and careful calculation will be needed in the determination of the location of the airport and the nature of the facilities to be provided. The cost will in any case be high, and the purpose of those who finajly make the decision must be to endeavour to foresee the needs that will arise, not in five or ten years, but in forty or fifty years. When a large sum of money has been expended on an airport, as on a railway station, that airport cannot—at least, in practice, it will not—be scrapped if, later on, it is recognised as inadequate or unsuitable. The community, in such circumstances, is condemned to "make do" with it for many years. In its approach to this question Auckland has one manifest disadvantage, which was exhibited last night. The City Council adopted the recommendation of the Mayor that the Government be urged to carry out detailed surveys, preliminary to the selection of an airport site. It rightly treated the matter as urgent; but in order to settle the question of who is to meet'the cost of the survey—£3ooo or £4000—it will be necessary for Mr. Allum to call a conference of local body representatives. Even on this ?mall matter there is no body that can speak for metropolitan Auckland. Can the community have much confidence that when much more important questions have to be decided the. decisions will be made rightly, and promptly, under these conditions? Sooner or later, either there will have to be one metropolitan airport authority, as there is a metropolitan harbour authority, or some existing body will have to be given metropolitan powers. It ought to be sooner rather than later. It might happen that the authority, if set up later, would find itself administering an airport on a site in the choice of which it would not have been consulted and of which it did not approve.

The importance of this matter can hardly be exaggerated. The present intention is to make surveys in the Mangere district, with a viewto the location of an aerodrome site for both external and internal air services. The present Mangere aerodrome, which may or may not be chosen, is 14 miles from the Chief Post Office. If it is chosen, what will be the prospect? In all probability the greatest volume of air traffic leaving and arriving at Auckland will be carried by a trunk line between Auckland and Wellington. It will far exceed the volume of traffic from overseas. For passengers arriving after an overseas journey of some days it will matter little that they have to spend a little extra time in reaching the city; for passengers arriving from or going to Wellington (or Hamilton, or Rotorua) it will matter a great deal. This aspect of the problem of airport location demands attention. Its importance suggests that Auckland should not necessarily be satisfied with the report even of experts in New Zealand, but should seek the opinion of the foremost experts that can be engaged overseas. It -suggests also the necessity of setting up one metropolitan authority whose responsibility it will be to give this and all related matters its continuous and undivided attention.

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Bibliographic details

AUCKLAND'S AIRPORT, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 170, 20 July 1945

Word Count

AUCKLAND'S AIRPORT Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 170, 20 July 1945

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