Construction has started on an extension of the car park system at the Rarotonga International Airport to create 30 more parking spots.
Airport Authority chief executive officer Joseph (Joe) Ngamata said work on the area next to the airport entry was expected to finish by early next month.
He said the new parking area would cater for airport staff parking and for any overflows from the main car park.
“Originally, we had 24 slots designed on the plan but now we will be able to fit 30 cars in the park,” Ngamata said.
“The new car park will be similar to the main one but not linked to the pay machine. This car park will cater mainly for airport workers and some slots will be available for rental companies if there is an overflow in the main car park area.”
Ngamata said users of the car park which is under construction would be issued cards to give them access to the area.
Their parking dues would be charged to their companies’ accounts, he added.
The main parking area, which underwent significant changes including the installation of automated control system, came into operation in July this year.
It has an entry and exit control terminal and barrier, automatic pay station database server software and hardware and card reading/encoding.
Issues with the machines were detected within two weeks of the new system being introduced
Problems included people using the triangular-shaped $2.00 coins which jammed the machine. Poor wi-fi connection also affected the automated system.
Ngamata said the Airport Authority had overcome most of those hiccups but was anticipating some more issues in the near future.
“We are anticipating some problems in the future with only one entry and exit at the car park.
“With a lot of people using the car park, we are expecting long queues during peak hours of the day and we have started work on installing additional entries and exits so that there are more lanes for people to enter and leave the car park.
“Normally during the Christmas period, we have a lot of locals coming home and that’s when our car park is normally full.
“We will monitor this closely and make sure we don’t have any issues with long queues. We will also have our staff helping out people with the car parking system.”
The automated system which is expected to double the revenue the Airport Authority has been collecting in parking fees, was installed to ensure an efficient system that would overcome congestion problems during peak hours.
The automated parking system cost the Airport Authority almost $250,000.