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First Full Summer of Travel at Auckland Airport

  • 2022-12-15

Joyous Christmas reunions will set the scene at the Auckland Airport’s arrivals hall with the lead up to Christmas among of the busiest days for international travel this summer.

Scott Tasker, General Manager Customer and Aeronautical Commercial at Auckland Airport, said with Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, people will be wrapping up work for the year and catching a flight to in time to join friends and family for Christmas festivities.

“The days leading up to Christmas Day are among the busiest at Auckland Airport this summer so the place will be buzzing. Based on our forecasts, we’re expecting to see about 50,000 people flying in and out of New Zealand across 23 December and Christmas Eve.”

It’s a very different place to where Auckland Airport was 12 months ago, when just over 2700 people arrived and departed internationally those same two days.

“As New Zealand’s border settings relaxed this year, we’ve seen some really emotional moments of reconnection in the international terminal. There’s a possibility that’s going to be trumped by the welcomes experienced as families unite for the holiday celebrations.

“For some it will be for the first time in years they’ve had this opportunity, so I really think there will be a little bit of extra Christmas magic in the air at the terminal,” he said Mr Tasker said the demand for travel – both domestically and internationally – has been extremely high and airlines have worked hard to add in capacity. 

“We’re now around 70% of where we were in terms of international airline seat capacity compared to 2019.


But load factors – the number of passengers booked on each flight – are extremely high. We’re seeing this in our forecast numbers, where there are no days that stand out as being noticeably busier – it’s going to be consistently busy across the summer travel period,” said Mr Tasker.

While travel demand has ramped up fast there are still challenges across the system as the industry recovers from the pandemic. 

“Most of the businesses and organisations at the airport are still struggling to fill vacant roles and uptick in COVID case numbers isn’t helping. Our teams are all working really hard to get people where they need to be this summer holiday, but there are times when there may be delays and queues,” said Mr Tasker.

“We realise this can be frustrating for travellers but ask that you don’t take it out on the frontline staff at the airport – they are there to help get you to your destination safely, not be abused. We’re only talking about a small minority of passengers here, but it can be pretty tough for staff working in public-facing roles.

“Our people feel a lot of pride in the work they do. They were proud to keep New Zealand protected during the pandemic and they’re proud to play a big part in our reconnection with the world,” said Mr Tasker.

“Working at the airport through the Christmas period is special – we are privileged to help get tens of thousands of travellers safely to their destination. At what will be a very busy time at Auckland Airport, we ask everyone shows some care and respect towards those around them.”

Scott’s tips for summer travel:
•    Plan ahead! It’s going to be busier on the roads, car parks and terminals so don’t make a last-minute dash to the airport. Check traffic or public transport schedules, book your car park in advance, and give yourself plenty of time to check-in and get through security
•    If you’re worried about your Christmas travel plans due to the jet fuel issue, please contact your airline
•    No airline plans to lose your bags but if there is something you need when you land that's either irreplaceable or hard to replace – whether that's medication or a Christmas gift for that special someone – make sure it's in your carry on
•    When you’re packing your bags, double-check what’s in your luggage can be carried on an aircraft – Aviation Security remove around 130,000 noncompliant items a year from passenger bags. And when you’re at the airport, help speed up the security process by getting ready for screening – get your laptop out of its case, empty keys, coins and phone from your pockets, and listen for staff instructions.
•    Travellers play an important role in protecting New Zealand's economic and environmental wellbeing by making sure bags are checked to ensure they don’t contain fruit or other items that could bring unwanted pests and diseases into the country. Biosecurity New Zealand has also stepped-up work at the border aimed at keeping New Zealand Foot & Mouth Disease free, so expect some extra checks for arriving passengers
•    Options for shopping and dining are growing daily at the international terminal, but if you have a favourite store or place to grab a bite to eat check the Auckland Airport website before you travel for the latest on what’s open and when. Everything is open and running as normal at the domestic terminal
•    Our car parks are busier during the holidays so if you plan on driving to the airport make sure you book parking in advance to get the best deal and double-check the journey to the car park – we’ve made a number of changes including closing the main international car park to build a new Transport Hub
•    Leave the car at home and catch a taxi, rideshare, SkyDrive bus or take advantage of half price public transport fares to try the train-bus connection via the AirportLink
•    Mobility card holders have the option of using the mobility valet for the same price as an international car park with the ease of parking right alongside the international terminal
•    The pickup/drop off areas at both terminals are all running as normal, but the easiest way to pick up arriving passengers is to use one of two Wait Zones. Located just a few minutes’ drive from either terminal, the Wait Zones give you 30 minutes free parking until your traveller lets you know they’re ready and waiting for pick-up. Look for the bright pink Wait Zone signs
•    Meeters and farewellers are welcome into the terminals, but with the closure of the main international car park the closest car park for people meeting or farewelling friends and family in the international terminal is now Car Park D, a five- to 10-minute undercover walk from the terminal building
•    The Sunflower Hidden Disability lanyard is now recognised at Auckland Airport. Check out the resources and support available to help make travel easier for those with invisible disabilities.


Top 3 days: international arrivals
•    Sunday, 8 January 2023 
•    Sunday, 15 January 2023 
•    Sunday, 18 December 2022 

Top 3 days: international departures
•    Sunday, 8 January 2023
•    Friday, 6 January 2023
•    Saturday, 7 January 2023

Top 3 days: domestic arrivals
•    Friday, 23 December 2022
•    Friday 16 December 2022
•    Thursday 22 December 2022

Top 3 days: domestic departures
•    Friday, 23 December 2022
•    Friday 16 December 2022
•    Thursday 22 December 2022

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