Auckland Airport is also committed to working effectively with our airline customers to support their own growth ambitions, through air-service development and fair airport charges that align more closely on the risk and reward of passenger volume growth. We consulted extensively and constructively with airlines before fixing a new five-year pricing schedule to apply from 1 July 2012.
We have also worked with the Government on a wide range of policy and regulatory matters, seeking to further align our business activities with the best possible outcomes for consumers and for the New Zealand economy. Government support has helped to seal the deal on air-service wins such as China Southern Airlines.
Government has listened to our proposals on improving visa processes for key markets, and delivered on those improvements. It has negotiated a trebling of the number of potential flights with China allowed under an updated air-service arrangement. It has given us a fair hearing in government processes. All the while, it has sought to balance the economic growth that the airport can and does deliver with the interests of other parts of the economy.
We also have an important and positive relationship with Auckland Council. The Council understands the airport’s significant role in facilitating regional growth and creating more and better employment opportunities for Aucklanders, especially those living in and around South Auckland. The new Auckland Plan acknowledges that as Auckland continues to develop as a city, better infrastructure and improved transport options will be required to support predicted airport growth and the benefits it can deliver.
Incorporating international airport growth into long-term urban city planning is not always easy. The likes of London and Sydney illustrate the consequences of planners over time allowing their city to enclose their airports and constrain their capacity for future growth.
This approach is forcing such cities to contemplate spending many billions of ratepayer or taxpayer money on new airports to cope with the inevitable rise in travel and trade demand. For example, recent estimates suggest a proposed new Thames Estuary airport in London could cost the equivalent of NZ$100 billion.
The economic and opportunity cost to Auckland and New Zealand would be massive if aviation capacity was constrained in the same way.