Auckland International Airport is the largest and busiest international airport in New Zealand serving more than 12 million passengers a year. Auckland InternationalAirport is located in Mangere, a western suburb of Manukau City, 21 km from Auckland city centre. Auckland International Airport is the central hub for Air New Zealand.
Auckland International Airport is one of New Zealand’s most important infrastructure assets – it provides thousands of jobs for the region, is the country’s second-largest cargo port by value, contributes around $14 billion to the economy, and brings over four million visitors to New Zealand each year. Around 70% of international travelers arrive or depart here.
In terms of total passenger numbers, Auckland International Airport is the fourth largest in Australasia after Kingsford Smith International Airport (Sydney), Melbourne Airport and Brisbane International Airport (Eagle Farm). However, as both the CEO of Auckland International Airport and the Prime Minister of New Zealand have recently noted, it is second largest airport in Australasia in terms of high-yield international passengers, being around 50% larger than MelbourneAirport.
The site of Auckland International Airport was first used as an airfield by the Auckland Aero Club. In 1928, the club leased some land from a dairy farmer to accommodate the club’s three De Havilland Gypsy Moths. The club president noted at the time that the site “has many advantages of vital importance for an aerodrome and training ground. It has good approaches, is well drained and is free from power lines, buildings and fogs.”
In 1960, work started to transform the site into Auckland’s main airport, taking over from Whenuapai in the north-west of the city. Much of the runway is on land reclaimed from the Manukau Harbor. The first flight to leave was an Air New Zealand DC-8 in November 1965, bound for Sydney. Auckland International Airportwas officially opened the following year, with a ‘grand air pageant’ on Auckland Anniversary weekend – 29 to 31 Januay 1966.
A new international terminal, named after Jean Batten, was built in 1977. The most recent substantial upgrade was in 2005, separating arriving and departing passengers.
Currently, Auckland International Airport is undergoing a series of major construction projects, which will see large changes, including a second runway.