Airport expansion plans announced
Auckland International Airport Ltd (AIAL) says, "New Zealand has an enormous opportunity arising from the growth in travel, trade and tourism around the Pacific Rim. The emerging economies of China, South-East Asia, India and South America are changing the dynamics of air travel around the world."
About 80 percent of the world’s middle class will soon be one flight away from Auckland, and the world’s airlines are also changing their aircraft fleets by investing in larger airliners carrying more passengers.
All this is said to have significant consequences for Auckland Airport. AIAL is forecasting the number of passengers using the airport every year to almost treble over the next three decades, from 14.5m people in 2013 to 40m in 2044. Likewise, the number of flights is expected to almost double from 150,000 a year in 2013 to 260,000 in 2044.
To accommodate this growth, AIAL has announced its 30-year vision and includes a new combined domestic and international terminal, a new parallel northern runway and improvements for transport to and from the airport.
The initial focus is on building the first phase of the combined domestic and international terminal, planned to be completed within five years. The combined terminal will have three major piers for docking aircraft, with 94 spaces, a significant increase on the 56 spaces currently available at the two separate terminals.
Then a new terminal plaza and forecourt will be created by the crescent-shaped space in front of the terminal building. It will include an underground station for rapid public transport to the airport, and provide a landscaped area for retail outlets and activities such as public art programmes, temporary displays and events.
A new air traffic control tower will be located in the centre of the plaza and a pedestrian- and cycle-friendly walkway will link the terminal to hotels, parking buildings and the many businesses and recreational activities located around the airport.
AIAL says, "By maximising the use of our existing southern runway we now expect to build our northern runway by around 2025, and we already have resource management approval to build and operate this important piece of infrastructure."
The second runway, with an operational length of 2150m and restrictions on flights to and from the east at night, can be built entirely on airport-owned land and without the need for any reclamation of the Manukau Harbour.
-Report by John King, photograph by AIAL
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