Auckland Airport (AKL) in New Zealand is about to undergo its most extensive renovation since it opened in 1966.
A new domestic terminal seamlessly connected to the existing international terminal is among the announced upgrades.
The airport said that the new domestic terminal, which will replace the existing one and cost NZ 2.2 billion, will open sometime between 2028 and 2029. The current terminal is 57 years old.
The remaining NZ$1.7 billion will be used for other integration-related initiatives, such as anticipated price hikes in building and holding expenses.
“This is a big investment for Auckland Airport, one which we have been working for many years,” stated Auckland Airport chair Patrick Strange in a statement dated 17 March 2023.
The domestic terminal has been around for about 60 years and needs to be replaced. It’s about to reach its maximum capacity, and it’s been useless for some time. The replacement project “would have been far underway if not for the pandemic,” Strange added.
Moreover, Strange stated that the airport had been discussing connecting the domestic and international terminals with major airline clients for over a decade.
By an extension added to the building’s eastern end, the terminal integration scheme will, for the first time since 1977, consolidate domestic and international flights under one roof.
“It will make travel easier and faster, cutting domestic jet to international transfer times to a five-minute indoor walk. A new check-in experience will provide state-of-the-art facilities for both domestic and international travellers, including the ability to check in and store your bag at any time throughout the day,” said Carrie Hurihanganui, the chief executive of Auckland Airport.
“Smart baggage systems will save time and reduce stress at either end of a flight. There will be faster links to public transport via the new Transport Hub we are building on the doorstep of the international terminal. We will also provide new gates and other facilities to help airlines smooth and speed-up turn-around times.”
In other words, “renovations just won’t cut it anymore,” as Hurihanganui put it.
The more extensive integration programme will involve employing 2,000 people at peak construction, significant upgrades to airfield pavement and underlying utilities, and two floors of floor space to the existing international terminal building for the new combined terminal.
Auckland Airport is currently consulting with major airlines and the Board of Airline Representatives (BARNZ) on the future location for regional travel; however, regional turboprop flights, those travelling to smaller town centres, will continue to use the existing domestic terminal for the time being.
Before the advent of covid, an annual total of 9.6 million domestic passengers used the domestic terminal, while 11.5 million international passengers (including transits) used the international terminal.
The new, integrated terminal will open between 2028 and 2029, initially serving international and domestic flights with larger, more fuel-efficient jet aircraft.