• Auckland International Airport is delaying the construction of its second runway until 2041 due to lower-than-expected demand for international travel.
  • The airport will consolidate its international and domestic (jet) terminals to improve passenger experience and reduce transfer times.
  • The airport has implemented new fees to cover increasing costs and plans to use profits for future airport investments.

While Auckland International Airport is persevering with its long-awaited terminal upgrades, passengers and aircraft won't be taxiing to the hotly anticipated runway number two anytime soon.

Demand for international travel has not yet peaked, with the airport expecting that 2018 passenger levels will not return until 2026, pushing back the requirement for the airport to start construction of the runway any sooner.

Photo: Photos BrianScantlebury / Shutterstock

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As reported by Business Desk, the airport expects a second runway not to be required until the fifth decade of the century, meaning that the scheduled completion date of 2028 has now been pushed back 13 years.

However, it's not all doom and gloom at one of Oceania's busiest airports, with the airport persevering having commenced its international and domestic terminal merge. Merging operations under one roof signals the largest-ever renovation project since the airport opened in 1966 and the replacement of the 57-year-old domestic terminal. Currently, both the domestic and international terminals are separated by a short walk or bus ride; however, in unfavorable weather conditions, this can be a pain, not to mention when you're late for your next flight.

Photo: Chris Melville / Shutterstock

The airport's overall plans include new roading and transit options to the airport, an NZ $3.9 billion terminal integration plan ($2.4 billion), NZ $75 million ($46 million) in renovations to the existing domestic terminal, expanded apron and runways, new cargo facility, a new international arrivals facility and most importantly, a second runway (in 2041). Auckland Airport’s Chief Executive, Carrie Hurihanganui, noted the simple renovations wouldn't cut it anymore and acknowledged it was time to commit to the terminal consolidation:

“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 domestic and international travelers, including checking in and storing your bag anytime throughout the day."

Auckland Airport masterplan
Photo: Inovo

The current stage of the renovation will consolidate all jet services (domestic and international) under one roof. However, those traveling regionally on turboprops will need to hike to the current terminal for the time being while the airport finalizes the location of the future regional gates.

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Airport costs increasing

After a year-long price freeze of aeronautical charges, consultation with significant airlines will set out a new expectation of airport charges now the travel industry is back on its feet. The new fees were implemented in July, with profits expected to be returned to future airport investments.

Photo: Sravan Karayil / Shutterstock

Pre-COVID, around 9.6 million domestic and 11.5 international passengers used the airport each year, and in the half-year from July 2022 to December 2022, numbers had recovered to 4.1 million and 3.5 million, respectively. There are now around 23 airlines flying from Auckland Airport to 35 international destinations, so seamless connectivity is a crucial issue, both for the airport and the airlines.

Sources: Business Desk, Auckland Airport