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Auckland Airport enhances passenger experience

Auckland Airport enhances passenger experience

Auckland Airport initiatives have made travellers' time at the airport even more enjoyable in recognition that it is often the first and last experience of New Zealand for many international travellers.

The 2006 financial year was another record year for passenger movements. Total passenger numbers increased 1.8% to 11,458,553. International passengers (excluding transits and transfers) were up 1.3% to 6,150,647. Domestic passengers were up 2.8% to 4,958,786.

Today, 40 years since the official opening of Auckland Airport, the airport handles more passengers every month than were handled in the entire first year.

Chief executive officer Don Huse said "The company has invested $500 million in airport and commercial developments since 2001. We expect to invest around a further $280 million over the next two years." The large bulk of this investment programme since 2001 relates to expanding and upgrading of the airfield and terminal facilities.

The airport’s 2006 annual results material reveals that processes for check-in and departure have been streamlined and are being increasingly automated. At the same time, major terminal redevelopment projects have made movement of passengers much easier.

Travellers at the international terminal now move with ease through a recently reconfigured pier, use their Eftpos or credit card to pay the departure fee at a touch-screen, self-service kiosk, access the internet in wireless ‘hot-spots’ without plugging in their laptop, and can receive an expert massage to help them relax before their flight.

As well, they have more shops, particularly duty-free, to buy from. As the New Zealand dollar has recently declined in value, the prices of duty-free products are even more competitive in New Zealand.

Mr Huse said "The passenger experience is a major influence on how the airport invests in its facilities. The airport is one of the leading Australasian airports, second only to Sydney in terms of international passenger numbers.

“Tourism is New Zealand’s single largest industry and export earner, and Auckland Airport is the first and last experience for many of New Zealand’s international tourists."

“We are enhancing our facilities and services to make their experience with us even more enjoyable,” said Mr Huse.

Further improvements are underway or are in the planning stages as Auckland Airport prepares for the next 20 years in line with its masterplan released earlier this year.

Planned expansion of the international terminal will significantly improve the processing of arriving international passengers by providing increased space for border agency checks, reducing bottlenecks and delays currently experienced at peak times.

Future development includes new arrivals retail outlets in the expanded international terminal and a new retail precinct between the two domestic terminals. A significantly increased departures retail precinct at the international terminal is also being planned.

For domestic travellers, parking has been made more accessible with the July opening of a new 850-bay, multi-storey, covered car park building adjacent to the domestic terminals. The car park includes a new Business Parking product focused on servicing the frequent business traveller. Passengers can walk across a covered overbridge to check in at the Air New Zealand or Qantas terminals.

The airport now has 8,449 domestic and international car parking spaces, an increase of 10.6% over the previous year, including the new multi-level car park.

Upgrading of the Qantas domestic terminal forecourt has been completed which will reduce congestion and provide a better flow for commercial and private vehicles.

Other international terminal initiatives include:

 A new boarding system due by late September will streamline the allocation of departure gates by removing gate numbers from boarding passes and announcing them on the flight information display screens when the departure point is confirmed.

 The opening of a new retail environment in the reconfigured international terminal pier.
 Planning to redevelop the retail precinct in the area before emigration, including the Jean Batten Foodcourt, for a broader range of products and services.

 The airport is now A380-capable with the widening of the runway and other runway upgrading completed in May. Six current airline customers operating at Auckland Airport have ordered the A380.

 A new Pier B planned at the international terminal to provide an additional two contact gates, with dual airbridge access.

 The new expanded arrivals area project, due for completion in early 2008, will double the arrivals duty-free offering.

 Planning to increase the departures retail area, including emigration processing, at the international terminal.


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