Any updates on WLG 2040? I really want it to go ahead
Nothing if Guardians of the Bay have their way. Wellington is full minority groups who do everything they can to stop any development of any sort. They are small self interested groups that want Wellington to become a backwater.
Eh, plenty of other reasons as well. While I'd like to see a runway extension, I'm increasingly of the mind we should instead relocate it up to Ohakea, create a dual use airport for the entire lower North Island, and have a high frequency rail connection to connect Wellington and the rest of the lower NI to it. Its current location is pretty shit for most users as it forces you to go through the whole city. It's also vulnerable to sea level rise from climate change, earthquakes, hills to the north that make extending to the north more difficult so you have to go south into the Cook Strait, big chunk of land for housing right in the city, etc.
I agree WLG is in a horrible location. Geographically isolated at the southern end of the city, wedged between two hilly areas at the end of a peninsula. Accessible from the city via an aging single lane (each direction) tunnel which is almost always congested. While this is not the only way, it's the main thoroughfare. The entire region From PPQ south need to travel via the CBD and on urban streets to access it and much like Eden Park is in Auckland, it's located in urban WLG and will likely face more restrictions and more complaints around noise as the city grows.
There are proposals to improve the roading infrastructure and public transport and they could explore ferry connections from the CBD and Petone into Evans Bay but there's still a lengthy connection to the terminal and while any services would be in the Wellington Harbor the seas can still be very volatile and unpleasant which brings into question reliability.
There's probably better examples, but I've often looked to SAN as an example of how busy a predominately short haul narrow body airport can get in a confined space.
The issue with Ohakea is the distance in lack of infrastructure. It's give or take 150km north of WLG. Our narrow gauge railway doesn't allow for highspeed trains so we'd need to invest in a dedicated line. Simple math says at 200km/hr to travel 150km it's 45 minutes. Which on a surface seems reasonable but; what's the cost of this?
Transmission gully took close to a decade to build and that's just from Porirua to Paekākāriki at a cost of $1.25B.
A highspeed ralline would also need to cut through some serious terrain and likely end up with a lengthy tunnel into WLG to avoid things like level crossings, steep grade changes and lower curve radius .
Cast your eyes over to the bill for Auckland's CRL and it'd be a fair assumption to ask how many billion the line itself will cost, it won't start with a 1 that's for sure.
All this is forgetting the other physical infrastructure that's required. Electrical, fresh and waste water, roading, terminals, where do employees come from - there's so much to consider.
But with Ohakea, I do believe a centralized lower North Island Airport serving, PMR & WAG, Levin, Foxton, Otaki, perhaps as far south as PPQ and even Ohakune in winter could be a thing. Is there any interest? Put simply. NO.
What's the solution to WLG? - Probably status quo to be honest. It'll just become an expensive airport.