Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport

Infobox Airport
name = Auckland Airport
nativename =
nativename-a =
nativename-r =

image-width =
caption =
type = Public
owner = AIAL
operator = Auckland International Airport Limited
city-served = Auckland
location = Auckland, New Zealand
elevation-f = 23
elevation-m = 7
coordinates = Coord|37|00|29|S|174|47|30|E|type:airport_region:NZ|display=title,inline
website =
metric-elev =
metric-rwy =
r1-number = 05R/23L
r1-length-f = 11,926
r1-length-m = 3,635
r1-surface = Concrete
r2-number = 05L/23R
r2-length-f = 10,197
r2-length-m = 3,108
r2-surface = Asphalt
stat-year = 2007-2008
stat1-header = Passengers (Excluding Transits)
stat1-data = 12,273,374 cite press release
title = Year In Review
publisher = Auckland Airport
date = 2008-07-28
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-16|format=PDF
stat2-header = Passengers (Total)
stat2-data = 13,202,772
stat3-header = Aircraft Movements
stat3-data = 159,627

Auckland Airport (formerly Auckland International Airport) Airport codes|AKL|NZAA is the largest and busiest airport in New Zealand with over 13 million (some 7 million international and 6 million domestic) passengers a year, expected to more than double by 2025. The airport is in Mangere, a western suburb of Manukau City, and is 21 km south of Auckland City centre. It is the central hub for Air New Zealand.

Auckland Airport is one of New Zealand’s most important infrastructure assets, providing thousands of jobs for the region, and is the country’s second-largest cargo 'port' by value, contributing around $14 billion to the economy, and catering for over four million visitors each year, resulting in a 70% share of New Zealand's international travellers. [ [ Air passengers and flights] (from Statisticts New Zealand)]

The airport is the fourth busiest in Australasia after Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports. However, internationally, the airport is the second busiest in Australasia, being a third busier than Melbourne Airport in terms of international passengers. [" [ Prime Minister’s Statement to Parliament] " (from the New Zealand Parliament website. Retrieved Tuesday 2006-02-14.)] The airport has also been rated in the top 3 worldwide for airports handling 5-15 million passengers annually. [" [ Auckland Airport rated in the top 3 worldwide for service quality] " (from the Auckland Airport website. Retrieved Thursday 2008-03-27.)]

It has a capacity of about 45 flight movements per hour, using a single runway. A close by taxiway was upgraded for use as a runway when the main runway requires maintenance or for use during emergencies, [ [ Summary] (from the 'Masterplan: 2005-2025' document of Auckland International airport. Retrieved 2007-10-08.)] but it does not have sufficient separation distance to operate simultaneously with the main runway. In November 2007 work began on a new northern runway, to be built in several stages and to be used mainly by smaller airplanes, freeing up capacity on the main runway.



The site of the airport was first used as an airfield by the Auckland Aero Club. In 1928, the club leased some land from a dairy farmer to accommodate the club's three De Havilland Gypsy Moths. The club president noted at the time that the site "has many advantages of vital importance for an aerodrome and training ground. It has good approaches, is well drained and is free from power lines, buildings and fogs."

In 1960 work started to transform the site into Auckland's main airport, taking over from Whenuapai in the north-west of the city. Much of the runway is on land reclaimed from the Manukau Harbour. The first flight to leave was an Air New Zealand DC-8 in November 1965, bound for Sydney. The airport was officially opened the following year, with a 'grand air pageant' on Auckland Anniversary weekend, 29 January to 31 January, 1966.

A new international terminal, named after Jean Batten, was built in 1977. The most recent substantial upgrade was in 2005, separating arriving and departing passengers in response to the terrorism fears after September 11, 2001, which caused concerns that passengers arriving from 'unsafe' airports (i.e. those considered to have insufficient screening procedures) could transfer bombs or weapons in the mixed zone, passing them to other passengers departing for, for example, the USA.


The airport is preparing for the construction of a second main runway about one km north of the current area used by the airport. The project's initial NZ$32 million stage is to provide a 1200m strip for use by smaller regional-connection planes. To be finished in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the new runway is expected to substantially increase the international-flight capacity of the airport, as smaller planes can be removed from the main runway. These require long safety distances from the air turbulence wakes of preceding jet airliners, causing associated additional delays.cite news|url=|title=Stage one begins for second runway|publisher="The New Zealand Herald"|date=2007-10-05|pages=A7|author=Mathew Dearnaley]

Construction for Stage One started in November 2007. However, Stage Two will see the runway lengthened to 1650m which will enable domestic jet flights to use it. Stage Three (final stage) will lengthen the runway to 2150m, allowing medium sized international jet flights to land there, from destinations such as the Pacific Islands or Australia. Eventually a new domestic terminal will also be built to the north to better utilize the new runway. The new runway will thus free up the longer southern runway to handle more heavy jet operations. [" [ Event marks start of new runway for Auckland Airport] " (Auckland Airport Media Release, Thursday 04 October 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-09.)] The 10-year project would cost NZ$120 million, not including substantial extensions planned for the airport arrivals/departure buildings and associated structures.

International Terminal


Check-in counters are at the eastern end of the international terminal building on the ground level. Unusually for most international airports, the counters are arranged in a straight line, rather than in islands.

After checking in, passengers proceed to the first floor via escalators and lifts to passport control and immigration. Premium class passengers flying on various airlines have expedited clearance facilities.Fact|date=December 2007 There are no special clearance facilities for New Zealand and Australian passport holders (as in Arrivals).

After clearing passport control and the central security checkpoint, passengers walk through a duty-free mall before going up a short escalator to the new upper level, which was completed in December 2005 to satisfy CAA requirements that arriving and departing passengers be separated.


Most large planes disembark directly by airbridge onto the first floor at the international terminal. Airstairs may be used during peak periods. International passengers walk past duty-free shops before descending via escalators, stairs or lift to passport control on the ground floor.

An express clearance facility for New Zealand and Australian passport holders is available on level 1, with eligible passengers clearing immigration control there before proceeding by direct escalator to the baggage hall on the ground floor, although this express facility is seldom open. This express clearance facility was the result of an ill-conceived measure to promote duty-free sales by allowing expedited clearance for New Zealand and Australian passport holders who purchased duty-free goods on arrival. However, New Zealand and Australian passport holders traditionally enjoyed short queues at immigration, and after negative reviews in newspapers such as The New Zealand Herald and peak-time passenger flow resulting in long queues at the main facility, the duty-free purchase requirement was removed in 2004.Fact|date=November 2007

Five flat-bed baggage belts are provided in the arrivals hall. Reclaim belt 5 is longer than the others as it was intended that 747-400 flights use this, due to their larger capacity for both passengers and baggage. 747-400 aircraft rarely use this reclaim because it is generally used by airlines which contract ground handling to Menzies, and only Singapore Airlines, Air Pacific, Air New Zealand and Qantas operates the 747-400 into Auckland.

The latest project is to move arrivals to the west of the existing facilities, so they can be used to clear passengers from the intended Pier B, with a central processing area for both piers. This will require passengers arriving at Pier A (the current terminal) to walk to the west, clearing immigration, before retracing their steps to collect their baggage. Auckland Airport has indicated that it will be installing travelators along this new passageway.

In early November 2007, Auckland Airport announced it would be fast-tracking a new project to extend the first floor of the current terminal building over the departures forecourt, and to open that the new arrivals hall (currently on the ground floor) in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Arriving passengers will access carparks by sloping travelators, escalators and lifts. It is unclear how departures, currently on the first floor with check-in on the ground floor, and the location of the baggage carousels and biosecurity screening, currently on the ground floor, will be affected by the move of arrivals to level one. Air New Zealand has criticised the expansion as being "unnecessary" and an abuse of the airport's monopoly position.Fact|date=November 2007

Passenger separation

Prior to 2006 Auckland Airport arriving and departing passengers were allowed to mingle airside. After the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001, the airport operated with a CAA exemption that allowed this to continue, although flights to the US and all Qantas-operated flights (and for a short while Cathay Pacific flights) were restricted to leaving from gates where a secondary X-ray and metal detector inspection had been set up. This exemption expired in 2006.Fact|date=October 2007

Auckland Airport decided that rather than building a new sub-top level to stream arriving passengers (as at Beijing, Vancouver or Heathrow), they needed to build a new departures floor for passengers to "drop down" into the existing gate lounges on the first floor, which would be closed off from a central arrivals corridor by glass. However, this design has been criticised by many frequent flyers on online bulletin boards such as Flyertalk, as the new design forces passengers to wind their way through a series of passages adding a few minutes to what was previously a straight-line two-minute walk. New piers and the planned walkway from the existing international terminal to the new planned Pier B, will be split-level in line with standard international airport practice. The new level introduces an airside Burger King and large windows on one side, which overlook the western end of the airport runway. The other side has only has one large viewing window area because of the shop space.

Passengers departing on US and London bound flights have a secondary passport check by an Aviation Security Service officer stationed at the top of the drop-down point prior to descending to their lounge.Fact|date=January 2008


New Zealand has tough quarantine laws and all arriving passengers are subject to screening. During non-peak hours, passengers with no baggage can expect to get from plane to exit within 10 minutes; for passengers with baggage about 15-20 minutes. Screening involves detection dogs and x-ray machine screening. A NZ$200 instant fine applies for risky items not being declared, while a fine of up to NZ$100,000 and ten years in prison are possible for the importation of certain specifically risky goods. [ [ If You Break The Law] (from the MAF Biosecurity New Zealand website. Retrieved 2007-10-08)] . This process also applies at other international airports in New Zealand and is carried out by MAF. During peak hours, depending on the backlog at passport control and at MAF Screening, clearance can take up to an hour.

Domestic Terminal

The domestic terminal buildings are undergoing a significant renovation programme. The project will see the Air New Zealand and Qantas domestic concourses, previously separate buildings, linked by a common retail area. Pacific Blue will have two new check-in counters in between Qantas and Air New Zealand.Fact|date=December 2007

Qantas domestic services operate from gates 20 and 21 (airbridge service); Pacific Blue from gates 22 and 24 (mobile stairs) and Air New Zealand jet services from gates 29-33 (airbridge service). Air New Zealand regional services operated by propeller aircraft depart from the regional section of the domestic terminal, at the eastern end.Fact|date=December 2007

Holding company

Auckland International Airport Limited (AIAL) was formed in 1988, when the New Zealand Government corporatised the airport. It had previously been run by the Auckland Regional Authority, covering the five councils in the Auckland region.

The Government was AIAL’s majority shareholder, the rest being held by the local councils. In 1998 the Government sold its shareholding, and AIAL became the fifth airport company in the world to be publicly listed. At that time the major shareholders were Auckland City Council (25.8%), Manukau City Council (9.6%) and North Shore City Council (7.1%). North Shore City Council sold its shares in 1999 and Auckland City Council sold its share down to 12.8% in 2002.

AIAL appears on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (nzx|AIA) and Australian Stock Exchange (asx|AIA). International shareholders hold around 40% of the shares, domestic approximately 60%.Fact|date=November 2007 The company has a [ Standard & Poor's] credit rating of A+/Stable/A-1.

AIAL enjoys diverse revenue streams, and operates a 'dual-till' approach, whereby its finances are split into aeronautical and non-aeronautical balance sheets. Aeronautical income is derived from airfield charges, terminal services charge and the airport development charge (or departure fee). Non-aeronautical revenue comes from its significant property portfolio, car park, and retail income. Income from the non-aeronautical side of the business accounts for just over half of its revenue. The airport has been criticised by airlines, led by Air New Zealand, for its purportedly high landing charges.

The diversity in revenue was of benefit during the downturn in international aviation following the events of September 11 2001, and subsequently the 2002 Bali bombings, SARS outbreak and the Iraq War. The airport was able to rely on steady income from the non-aeronautical side of the business, which softened the blow of international events. In addition, New Zealand retained favour among the world’s travellers as a safe destination.

The company has reportedly been singled out by airline lobby group IATA for its consistent excessive levels of profits. Airlines such as Air New Zealand complain of excessive landing charges, currently in the process of being increased again. [ [ Remarks by Giovanni Bisignani - Global Press Briefing, Geneva: Auckland is an example] (from an IATA press release, 2006-12-01. Retrieved 2007-11-11.)] On June 5, 2007, the airport's 60% profit margin was criticised by IATA director general and CEO Giovanni Bisignani. He said the airport had a "happy monopoly" and that IATA would ask the New Zealand government to investigate. [" [ Auckland Airport labelled greedy] " - TV New Zealand, One News, 2007-06-06. Retrieved 2007-11-11.]

Until July 2008, AIAL charged all departing international passengers (12 years old or older) a $25 departure fee. This has been replaced with a passenger services charge levied on the airlines for each arriving and departing international passenger. This charge has commenced at $13 and will rise by 50 cents a year for two years to $14. [Eriksen, Alanah May. " [ Airport departure tax to be axed] ". "The New Zealand Herald". May 29, 2008.]

The current directors of the company are Anthony Frankham (chair), Keith Turner, Joan Withers, Lloyd Morrison, John Brabazon and Richard Didsbury.

Airlines and destinations

Fatal accidents

There have been three fatal aircraft accidents on or near the airport:

*On 4 July 1966 an Air New Zealand Douglas DC-8 on a training flight crashed on the runway shortly after taking off, killing two of the five crew (no passengers were onboard).

*On 17 February 1979 an Air New Zealand Fokker Friendship crashed into Manukau Harbour while on final approach. One of the crew and one company staff member were killed.

*On 31 July 1989 a Mainfreight Convair 340/580 crashed shortly after taking off at night. The three crewmembers were killed.

Air New Zealand Flight 901 was a notable accident that involved an aircraft from Auckland. On 28 November 1979 an Air New Zealand sightseeing flight from Auckland to Antarctica, crashed into Mount Erebus, killing all 257 on board.


External links

* [ Auckland Airport] (official website)
* [ Details] (airport data from '

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