Auckland Airport is undergoing its largest refurbishment since opening

One of Oceania’s busiest airports, Auckland International Airport (AKL) today confirmed its plans to merge its domestic and international terminals under one roof. The airport planned to begin its widespread upgrade program before the pandemic. However, as expected, the world was put on hold.

The airport’s overall plans include new road and transit options to the airport, a NZ$3.9 billion ($2.4 billion) terminal integration plan, NZ$75 million ($46 million) in renovations to the existing domestic terminal, expanded aprons and runways, new cargo facility, a new international arrivals facility and, most importantly, a second runway.

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Today’s announcement marks the largest ever refurbishment project since the airport opened in 1966 and the replacement of the aging 57-year-old domestic terminal, which can be a pain for travelers who have experienced a transfer between Auckland International and Domestic.

All jet operations under one roof

The domestic and international terminals are separated and connected by a transit bus or walkway. From past experience, I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh air when I got off a long international flight before connecting to my domestic destination; however, for some this is impractical and can cause anxiety in a time crunch.

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The airport’s final step, to consolidate all jet operations under one roof, will take the airport to the next step of its overall renovation project. Auckland Airport Chief Executive Carrie Hurihanganui noted that the simple renovations are no longer enough and acknowledged that it was time to commit to the consolidation of the terminal:

“It will make travel easier and faster, reducing transfer times from a domestic flight to an international flight to a five-minute walk indoors. A new check-in experience offers state-of-the-art facilities for domestic and international travelers, including the ability to check in and store your luggage at any time of the day.

Turbo props will stay put for now.

As noted by the airport’s CEO, only jet flights will be accommodated in the new terminal, with the construction of 12 jetgates (20% more than the airport currently has).

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Auckland airport terminal

With domestic jet flights departing from Auckland to only Christchurch (CHC), Dunedin (DUD), Invercargill (IVC), Queenstown (ZQN) and Wellington (WLG), the rest of the country leaves the journey back to the old terminal. However, the airport is discussing with major airlines and the Board of Airline Representatives (BARNZ) the future location for regional domestic operations.

A step towards a low-carbon future

The CEO of the airport continued to take note of the commitment to reduce environmental impact and carbon footprint wherever possible. This is planned alongside a focus on minimizing waste and improving water efficiency. Hurihanganui stressed:

“Sustainability is a priority for us – this investment will help us achieve climate change goals and create a more sustainable airport,

“We have worked closely with major airlines to understand their needs and requirements, including their investment in larger domestic aircraft and their planned future low-carbon aircraft. We support airlines by installing ground power units at every gate to power aircraft, reducing fuel consumption,

“We recognize that price changes are challenging in the current environment. Going a step further, we are ambitious but conscious of the costs, ensuring that our infrastructure program is fit for purpose.”

Sources: Grimshaw, Auckland Airport

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