2016 marked 50 years since Auckland Airport officially opened its doors.


Manukau has long been a transport hub. The land was farmed and then became a centre for aviation enthusiasts until secured in 1955 with the purpose of becoming the country’s primary international airport.

On 29 January 1966, Auckland Airport was officially opened. The opening was commemorated with a ‘Grand Air Pageant’ held over three days, which attracted a crowd of over 200,000 members of the public.

In a booklet published to mark the occasion, Prime Minister Keith Holyoake wrote that the opening signified “Auckland’s growing importance as a commercial centre and as a gateway to New Zealand.”

At the time, all domestic and international flights used what is now the domestic terminal, until 1977 when a new international terminal was opened.

In the 1990s the airport nearly doubled in size after a $180 million redevelopment project.

Since 1966, Auckland Airport has brought our island nation closer than ever to the rest of the world and become a key driver of New Zealand travel, trade and tourism.

Over the last fifty years, as our country and city have grown and changed, so have we.

We’re a hub of economic growth, home to hundreds of local and global businesses where 30,000 people come to work every day.

Auckland Airport has always been more than a place of arrivals and departures. It’s a place of hello and goodbye. Of kia ora and haera ra.

We’re incredibly proud of the role that we play in connecting New Zealanders to the world, and encouraging visitors to our shores. We thank everyone in the community; our staff; the travelers; the airlines and all our partners for being a part of that.

We are investing for the future of aviation and working hard to prepare for what the world will look like in another fifty years. Come with us on the journey as we build the airport of the future.


Footage from Auckland Airport's opening in 1966
A look to the future: Auckland Airport's 30 year vision

Visual Journey of Auckland Airport