Auckland Airport to invest NZ$1.8 billion in aeronautical infrastructure

Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport will be investing some NZ$1.8 billion (US$1.3 billion) in aeronautical infrastructure development over the next five years as it looks to enhance its international departures and arrivals capabilities, along with adding new domestic facilities.

The move comes as the country’s major airport has been experiencing significant growth over the past few years, notably a 26 percent increase in passenger volume since 2014 and a 61 percent increase in international airlines over the past 22 months. In the last year, Hong Kong AirlinesHainan Airlines, and Tianjin Airlines, for instance, have each launched new non-stop services to the New Zealand city.

It will be these international services that will be seeing the lion’s share of the new investment. Among the developments planned to take place between 2018 and 2022, the airport will be “expanding and upgrading the international departure experience” as well as providing three additional international gates for aircraft such as the A380 and B787. International arrivals will also be able to make use of expanded border processing areas and public spaces, while departures will see an upgraded check-in area.

However the domestic front won’t be completely ignored, with plans for a new domestic jet terminal attached to the existing international terminal also among the announced developments.

“As a result of this significant investment in infrastructure over the next five years, there will be better and faster passenger journeys through and around our airport,” said Auckland Airport’s chief executive, Adrian Littlewood. “The experience within the terminals will be more intuitive and relaxing, and transferring between domestic jet and international flights will be faster and more efficient.”

“Setting aeronautical prices for a five-year period is a complex process involving a range of specific charges. We believe that the prices we have announced today balance different views and are in the best interests of travellers and New Zealand.”

Along with the investment announcement, Littlewood also confirmed expected changes to passenger charges.

“For the next five years, in real terms, our average international passenger charges will reduce by 1.7 percent each year and domestic passenger charges will only increase by 0.8 percent per annum. Given the scale of the planned investment this is a great outcome for travellers.”

Auckland Airport already currently invests more than NZ$1 million (US$720,000) per working day on aeronautical infrastructure.

“We believe Aucklanders and New Zealanders recognise the need for long-term planning and development of critical aviation infrastructure. In the next five years, we will take significant steps on the path to opening our second runway which we currently expect to be required in 2028,” Littlewood added.

New Auckland Airport hotel announced

Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport is set to get a new five-star hotel adjacent to its international terminal and the current four-star Novotel airport hotel by late 2019. The 250-room property, which will begin being constructed by the end of 2017, will operate under Accorhotels’ Pullman brand and carry the name “Te Arikinui”.

According to the airport’s general manager, Mark Thomson, plans for a new airport hotel have been in the works for some time, but a recent increase in demand for accommodation in the city has expedited the development.

“Auckland Airport plays a key role in New Zealand’s growing tourism industry and in connecting Auckland to New Zealand, and New Zealand to the world,” he said. “Being able to walk to the terminals, rather than drive, has considerable appeal to hotel patrons and will also help reduce vehicle movements on our roads.”

The completion of the new property is expected to coincide with the expansion of the airport’s international terminal and the start of development on the domestic section of a future combined domestic and international terminal. These are reportedly part of an infrastructure improvement plan that is currently seeing the airport invest more than NZ$1 million (US$128,843) per working day.

“This is an exciting project that will result in two complementary assets located in an exceptional position at New Zealand’s main gateway,” said Chris Joblin, chief executive of Tainui Group Holdings, which is co-developing the hotel. “This creates tremendous scope to create a unique, authentic New Zealand experience for airport visitors and hotel guests including through unique cultural elements incorporated in the design.”

Auckland Airport has welcomed a slew of new services in recent months, including Hainan Airlines’ Shenzhen service, new daily direct flights by Hong Kong Airlines, and Tianjin Airlines’ three-times-weekly service from Tianjin. Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific became the first international airline to fly an Airbus A350-900 to the New Zealand city in October last year.