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Airport land transport access put under microscope

29 September 2004

Auckland Airport land transport access put under microscope

Auckland International Airport Limited (AIAL) is undertaking a major study into land transport issues at New Zealand's largest airport, helping identify options to improve roading and public transport access.

"This initiative follows concerns about access at peak periods and the unpredictability of the time it takes that it takes people to get to and from the airport," says AIAL chief executive, Don Huse.

"Over 10 million passengers used the airport in the past year and numbers are growing by five to seven per cent a year. Given the vital role the airport plays in the New Zealand and Auckland regional economy, it is crucial that passengers and freight are able to get to and from the airport easily," said Mr Huse.

"With numbers of people and freight using the airport increasing every year, we need to ensure that the roading and public transport systems serving the airport are up to the task.

"We have been working hard to improve services at the airport, but for the public to get the full benefits of this investment we need to look beyond the airport itself at other critical factors that are an important part of the journey."

Mr Huse noted that the airport and the region's roading and public transport networks form an interdependent 'supply chain' infrastructure that helps the Auckland region achieve its economic growth potential.

"The wider regional and national economy as well as the performance of all airport operations suffers if there is a weak link in the infrastructure chain."

Over 10,000 people are employed on the airport and it generates and facilitates around $14 billion to the New Zealand economy annually. In terms of freight, it is New Zealand's second largest port by value of goods handled.

"At peak times of the year, more than 62,000 vehicles can travel to the airport each day.

"Our first challenge is to get a good understanding of the extent of the access issues. We are keen to identify some practical steps that can be taken to improve things, and believe it is in everyone's interest to get them identified and actioned without delay," he said.

The airport's investigation will include seeking the views of airport staff, business and leisure travellers and other airport users, surveys to identify traffic bottlenecks and research of how other comparable international airports have addressed access issues.

The surveys and research will assist the airport to develop a clear view on what can be done to help improve land transport access to the airport, in both the short-term and long-term.

"We are aiming to have our initial findings identified by December," concluded Mr Huse, "their purpose will be to assist in our airport master plan review and allow us to work with regional bodies on forward transport planning."


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