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Airport Terminal Design Will Constrain Consumers & Airlines, Says BARNZ

The $5.9 Billion dollar Auckland Airport terminal design fails to address the overarching concerns of customers and airlines.

Auckland 2nd May 2024 – Airlines are concerned that the proposed Auckland Airport terminal will fail to address long-term issues of operation. It will result in increased costs for airlines and travellers who will foot the bill while using terminals operating beyond capacity.

“Auckland Airport tells us that their future domestic terminal is on track for completion in 2029, and that prices won’t rise as much as airlines fear. Given decades of under investment at Auckland Airport redevelopment is needed, but this shouldn’t come at any cost.” BARNZ executive director, Cath O’Brien says.

O’Brien also says that while Auckland Airport claims that it has not consulted with airlines on prices up to 2032, that this is simply not correct.

“As part of recent price consultation with airlines, Auckland Airport shared a range of price estimates for per passenger prices to 2032. However, Auckland Airport does not allow airlines to share this information in any detail – but airlines must plan for these future costs. It is entirely reasonable for airlines to assess what the costs may be, as they plan how (and whether) they can operate at Auckland Airport into the future,” says O’Brien.

O’Brien observes that there are also concerns at the disruption arising from prolonged construction, which will be a challenging period for airlines and their customers.

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“With many parts of the airport becoming live construction sites, health and safety is a huge concern for all airport users. Pathways for passengers and staff are changing, and in many cases taking longer to navigate. This is a real challenge for elderly people or those with access issues.”

“Auckland Airport also tells us that in 2026 there will be four fewer international gates than we have today. This constraint arises because of construction works on the integrated domestic terminal, which will reduce available gates. This gate constraint will be an ongoing challenge for several years and will require customers to bus to aircraft on the airfield.”

O’Brien also points out that the ‘Green Line’ may still exist once the integrated terminal is opened.

“Customers travelling on any regional service will still have to walk or bus between terminals in future. Its disingenuous to tell customers the new terminal is a one stop shop – it won’t be.

Airlines have been calling for investment in Auckland Airport for some years.

“The real problem that exists is that the 15-year construction plan that Auckland Airport proposes can’t fit inside the 5-year assessment the Commerce Commission makes for airport prices.”

“Auckland Airport needs a more appropriate regulatory regime, to oversee this substantial catch-up investment. We encourage the Commission to consider the impact of these extreme costs on domestic and Tasman airfares –which will bear the brunt of demand impacts from rising prices.”

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