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Auckland Airport unveils $3.9 billion redevelopment project


Auckland Airport has unveiled a $3.9 billion redevelopment project, which will see it combine its domestic and international terminals.

A rendition of how Auckland Airport will look after the redevelopment. Photo: Supplied / Auckland Airport

The airport said the project would reaplce the 57-year-old domestic terminal, at a cost of $2.2b and it was set to open between 2028 and 2029.

The rest of the cost ($1.7b) is for other projects associated with the integration, and includes forecast increases in construction costs and holding costs.

The airport planned 12 new domestic aircraft gates, up 20 percent from current levels, with electric charging and all catered for future aircraft.

It said the combined terminal would see a five-minute transfer between the domestic and international areas.

It would also have additional retail and rest areas, a new “state-of-the-art” check-in area, and a smart baggage system, using 50 percent less power to process each bag compared to a conventional conveyor-based system.

A graphic showing how the Auckland Airport redevelopment will result in the domestic and international terminals coming under one roof.

A graphic showing how the Auckland Airport redevelopment will result in the domestic and international terminals coming under one roof. Photo: Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport chair Patrick Strange said it was a major investment for the airport, many years in the making.

“The domestic terminal is almost 60 years old and needs replacing. It’s nearing capacity and it’s no longer fit for purpose and hasn’t been for some time. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, we would already be well underway with its replacement,” Strange said.

The airport has consulted with its major airline customers on a replacement terminal since 2011.

“We have worked with major airlines for over a decade on this. We’ve considered all feedback, including potential alternative locations and even further delays to infrastructure development,” Strange said.

“All of this has been carefully thought through and we have made changes where appropriate, but now we need to get on with it,” he said.

Construction would take place over the next five to six years.

Auckland Airport chief executive Carrie Hurihanganui said the project was about building the gateway Auckland and New Zealand needed.

“A new domestic terminal integrated into the international terminal will make Auckland Airport fit for the future, providing a much-improved experience for travellers – something they’ve clearly and repeatedly told us they want,” she said.

Renovations would “not cut it anymore”, she said.

The redevelopment would employ 2000 additional customers at the height of construction.

The airport is currently consulting with airlines on new aeronautical charges between July 2022 and June 2027.

It said the terminal integration programme was a major part of its 10-year capital programme, which informed overall airport pricing.

Meanwhile, airlines are warning that Auckland Airport’s upgrade will cut the number of cheap fares on offer.

Board of Airlines Representatives executive director Cath O’Brien said the cost of the project got pushed onto airlines in the form of airport fees, and that would flow on to ticket prices.

“Airlines are frustrated by the airport’s action,” O’Brien said.

“Airlines want to make sure people can afford to fly around New Zealand, and that international carriers are attracted to operating here. This will seriously challenge both.”

Increased costs from the airport’s spend would add to the challenges the sector was already facing as it began to recover from the impacts of Covid, burgeoning costs across the sector, and fewer flights coming to the country, O’Brien said.

In other countries, airports had completed upgrades at a much lower cost than what Auckland was proposing, she said.

“Investment of such significance should be something we negotiate with the airport company, and something we make sure not only travellers, but also the New Zealand economy can afford.”