Emirates pilot buys New Zealand airfield for $2m

A380 captain Neil Greer set to redevelop Waiheke Island airfield into resort
An aerial view of Waiheke Airfield in New Zealand
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 07 Jan 2012 10:01 AM

An Emirates A380 captain has won a long-running legal battle to buy a remote airfield in New Zealand for just over $2.85m.

Neil Greer, who has been a pilot for the Dubai-based airline for 16 years, has won consent from authorities in New Zealand to buy Waiheke Island's only airfield.

The move may hasten plans to develop a resort on the site including accommodation, a cafe, hangars and sealed runway.

The Overseas Investment Office in New Zealand has cleared the way for the Neil Greer Developments Trust to buy the 8.96 hectare ridge-top property.

The application satisfied the OIO's national interest test because the new owner plans include further development and creation or retention of jobs, according to a summary released by the office.

The summary said Greer also proposes to maintain and improve the airfield operations as a viable, commercial airfield facility to service the greater Hauraki Gulf area and Auckland.

The former Auckland Regional Council had to pay costs of almost $100,000 in 2010 after the Environment Court deemed it had unnecessarily opposed consents for the Waiheke Island Airpark Resort.

According to the airfield's website, the resort has been five years in the planning.

The plan by Greer's company includes 26 three-bedroom units.

The airfield's ridge-line position has panoramic views of the Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto Island and back to Auckland City.

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