3 Jun 2018

Wellington airport testing site for new airplanes

2:53 pm on 3 June 2018

Wellington International Airport will be hosting the world's newest widebody planes this evening.

Wellington Airport

NC Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Aerospace manufacturer Airbus will test the performance of the A350-900 with a series of landings and take-offs at the airport.

The airport's chief executive Steve Sanderson said what made Wellington ideal was its runway.

"It has grooves which means it can be raining very hard and the efficiency of these grooves basically means it's a dry runway for calculations," he said.

The testing would provide the airport with important data, Mr Sanderson said.

"The testing will show the different combinations of loads and distance an A350 can reach off Wellington's runway.

"It's about determining the future performance for Wellington as more of these aircraft enter the fleet in the Asia-Pacific."

The testing would not affect passenger travel times and would be a treat for plane spotters.

He recommended those wanting to get a better look to head to Lyall Bay.