Three public holidays overlapping with both the New Zealand and Australian end-of-term break will see a busy few weeks at Auckland Airport.
Bookended by Easter and Anzac Day, many families are jetting away before the cooler weather sets in with more than 800,000 people travelling across the school holidays.
Auckland Airport Chief Customer Officer, Scott Tasker, said the opportunity to extend the school holidays with Good Friday and Anzac Day means passenger numbers are predicted to be just over 80 percent of 2019 levels across both the international and domestic terminals.
“It’s not often all these public holidays fall within the school holiday period, plus our end of term lining up with the Australian school breaks, so we’re seeing similar traveller numbers to the Christmas period,” said Tasker.
“For international travel, all through the Easter weekend and into that first week of the school holidays it’s going to be particularly busy for departures. On the arrivals side, it’s the last weekend of the school holidays that we’re going to see our busiest days.”
The domestic terminal will also be full of holidaymakers, with Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays being peak days across the whole month of April. Christchurch, Wellington, and Queenstown are the top three domestic connections, while the most popular regional journey is Napier with around 30,000 people flying to and from Hawke’s Bay.
Tasker acknowledged that the aftermath of recent weather events is a driving force behind the need for air travel these holidays.
“With ongoing repair work on state highway five slowing the journey between Napier and Taupo and SH2 from Napier to Gisborne still closed following Cyclone Gabriel, air links are providing a critical connection. But hopefully, there are also some holidaymakers to give tourism operators, hospitality and accommodation providers a boost after a rough few months.”
Internationally, Australia leads in terms of both the most popular destination and Auckland Airport’s number one source of inbound travellers. It’s followed by the United States and Singapore
“At our busiest, we’ll have well over a full Eden Park crowd flying in and out of Auckland Airport every day across the domestic and international terminals,” Tasker said.
Peak travel periods can sometimes bring additional wait times and queues at the airport.
“While it’s been nearly a year since the border began reopening, the aviation system is still getting up to speed,” expressed Tasker.
“The combination of airline schedule changes, labour shortages, and mishandled bags are continuing to affect operations and these issues, which are being felt globally across the aviation system, are going to take time to resolve.”
Auckland Airport is currently undertaking refurbishment work in the arrivals processing area to upgrade baggage reclaim facilities and bring improvements to the final stages of border processing. Border processing and screening areas will be operating within a reduced space during the project.
“Lengthy queues and longer than expected processing times are definitely not what we want for travellers, but we want to be upfront about how the daily travel peaks can impact customers as they move through the airport system,” added Tasker.
“We are working hard with other organisations operating at Auckland Airport to reduce the likelihood of this happening and thank travellers for their continued patience.”