Latest updateThe airport is currently spending more than $1 million every day on infrastructure improvements
That we were collectively able to overcome the constraints of ongoing major construction to welcome and farewell record numbers of passengers is testament not just to the recently-completed facility upgrades, but the cooperation and shared desire to provide a positive customer experience.
Say hello to a new kind of goodbye.
Auckland Airport’s international departure area is New Zealand’s gateway to the world. It is a place of great excitement; the launch pad for impending adventure. But it can also be one of reflection and sadness, as holidays end or friends and family are farewelled.
Improving this farewell experience is a key part of Auckland Airport’s 30-year vision to build the ‘airport of the future’.
Construction is already underway to upgrade the international departure area – to reconfigure, streamline and enhance the border processing experience, and to deliver a world-class passenger lounge and retail hub, more than twice the size of the current space.
Our new departure area has been designed by international airport design specialists Gensler, in partnership with New Zealand architects Jasmax. We set them the task of creating a world-class airport experience with a uniquely New Zealand theme - a journey, or haerenga, from sea to land to sky.
The sea will be represented by a water wall that marks the new farewell point for friends and family, as passengers prepare to enter passport control. A journey through the natural elements will then unfold as people make their way towards their gate.
As part of this first stage, which will be completed by late 2017, we’ll be partially revealing the new store layouts of our two duty free retailers, Aelia Duty Free and The Loop Duty Free. The full transformation of the passenger lounge and retail hub will ultimately be completed by late 2018. By this time we will have also increased the number of gates and stands capable of accommodating the latest Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft.
The international terminal will remain open throughout the upgrade of the departure area. However, to ensure all construction activity remains out of view, the lounge space will shrink and contort a little before it springs back out to its expanded final form.
The inaugural passenger flight from Auckland was an Air New Zealand DC-8, taking 129 passengers to Sydney. Soon after the airport’s opening, the runway was extended to accommodate the then new Boeing 747, and it was extended again in 2006 so the Airbus A380s could fly into Auckland. The A380 super jumbos can carry more than 850 passengers – and Auckland Airport now welcomes at least three of these every day.
Over the past 50 years, Auckland Airport has grown from 750,000 passengers in 1966 to 17 million this year. It has welcomed strangers and said goodbye to friends. Like no other, it has become a place of kia ora and haere rā. And really, the journey has only just begun.
We have a 30-year vision for Auckland Airport – a vision to enable us to welcome 260,000 flights and 40 million passengers every year by 2044. Our vision will see us build a combined domestic and international terminal, a second runway, a new control tower, hotels, shops and walkways. We will also be significantly improving roads, car-parks and public transport infrastructure within the airport precinct, and we will be working with local and central government to enhance transport access to and from the airport.
Airbus, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, predicts that Auckland Airport will become a global aviation mega-city by 2030, one of only 80 in the world.
We intend to build the infrastructure required to support this growth in stages, triggered by increases in passenger and flight numbers. The first phase of work to build the combined domestic and international terminal should be completed within the next five years, around 2021, with the second runway being built around 2025.
Over the next thirty years, it is likely our vision will have to change to respond to new challenges and accommodate new opportunities. What will remain constant though is our commitment to delivering a world-class airport with a welcome that is unique to New Zealand.