Auckland Airport unveils 30-year plan

JOSH MARTIN
Last updated 05:00 29/03/2014
Auckland Airport

A fly through of the 30 year vision for Auckland airport.

Auckland Airport plans
Auckland Airport has released its 30-year vision.

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Domestic travellers will fly out of Auckland Airport's new combined international and domestic terminal as early as 2019.

Auckland International Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood said the phased rollout of its "airport of the future" would begin delivering results for travellers in as little as five years.

Moving most domestic flights to a new combined terminal on the southern end of the existing international terminal was the first major project of the 30-year plan, Littlewood said.

The airport has detailed its ambitious expansion plan, which includes a long-delayed second runway by 2025 and a transport corridor for passenger rail.

Individual projects will be "triggered" when passenger levels meet set targets, but delayed if arrival numbers stagnate.

The airport is projected to cater for a combined total of 40 million international and domestic travellers by 2040, up from 14.5 million currently.

Aircraft parking gates will increase from 54 to 94.

Littlewood said potential passenger interruption throughout the 30-year construction plan was "a reality of any busy airport in the world".

At completion by 2040 the airport will include a crescent-shaped terminal housing a central check-in and security point for all passengers, retail, hospitality and hotel precincts close to an open-air plaza and connected to Auckland city by an underground train station.

Littlewood said the second 2150-metre runway would potentially require an 800m extension beyond 2045.

"Tourism into New Zealand is set to grow and the key for us is to support that growth, be ready for it and not stand in the way," he said.

IMPACT ON AUCKLAND

The development over 30 years will contribute $2 billion in regional GDP, create more than 27,000 fulltime jobs and help lift Auckland's household incomes by $1.4b, according to Insight Economics.

Auckland Chamber of Commerce head Michael Barnett said exporters and the business community depended on the airport to manage the increasing numbers of passengers and freight.

"The health of our economy very much depends on Auckland Airport being able to provide effective and efficient service, this 30-year plan does exactly that," Barnett said.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) head Brett O'Riley said the improved airport would be central to sectors like tourism, but also business events, international education and the ICT sector.

Transport issues that will arise with the influx of passengers will remain tied to political will and funding.

The airport said it was "too early to say who will pay" for the underground railway station, but it would gift land and work alongside central and local government agencies to build the rail link into the city.

"We are in full support of public transport growth, because long-term it is vital for Auckland," Littlewood said.

However, local residents can expect overall aircraft noise to increase with the expansion, even though modern aircraft like the Airbus A320 and Boeing 787 were quieter and the proposed northern runway would not operate at night.

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HUB CITY

The blueprint, first made public in November 2013, aims to transform Auckland into an Australasian mega hub for air travel.

The annual passenger projections of 40 million by 2040 is less than Singapore's Changi Airport's current levels, but Littlewood said Auckland could be more than the gateway for tourists to New Zealand.

Auckland will rival Sydney and Melbourne in luring transit traffic if the project goes to plan, Littlewood said.

The airport said it offered efficiencies over Australia as a transit airport because of its available land compared to Sydney and Melbourne airports.

"Congestion can really slow things down, when you have too many planes and not enough space at gates or on the apron.

"We have to offer greater connectivity and greater comfort," he said.

New Zealand was well placed to take advantage of the growth of the Asian middle class, which will make up two-thirds of the world's total by 2030, and be "one direct flight away from New Zealand", Littlewood said

"The emerging economies of China, Southeast Asia, India and South America are changing the dynamics of global air travel," he said.

New Zealand's location positioned it well to serve as a transit point between the emerging economies of Asia and Latin America, although there was no "silver bullet".

Global aviation giant Airbus agreed, identifying Auckland Airport as one of 80 global aviation "megacities" by 2030, with more than 10,000 long-haul travellers daily.


- Fairfax Media

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