Managing emissions

We are proud of our location on the beautiful Manukau Harbour and recognise that we have a duty to care for the area’s unique habitats, heritage and waterways. This duty involves managing environmental risks like polluted stormwater and contaminated land.

Our environmental management plan

We have had an environmental management system in place for many years. It is externally reviewed and updated annually. This system includes the environmental plan and initiatives set out below. The plan ensures not only that we comply with legislation but also that we continue to improve our environmental performance over time.

View our environmental management plan

Managing stormwater

We have identified operations that pose a risk to the local stormwater system. We work with our business partners to minimise contaminants entering the stormwater system and remove these using wetland treatment systems.

We start with good housekeeping – regularly cleaning roads, cesspits and interceptors around the airport to prevent contaminants like dirt and rubbish from being flushed into the stormwater system or creating blockages. We test the stormwater discharge from our nine catchments regularly, together with any sediment that reaches the receiving environment. If there is an issue, we investigate and act quickly to resolve it.

Social responsibility

Managing spills

Airport of the future

Airport of the future

Auckland Airport is destined to grow quickly and we have developed a 30 year vision for it.

Find out more
Social responsibility

We record spills and respond to them quickly before contaminants enter the airport’s drainage system. The number of significant spills (over 2m2) per 1,000 aircraft movements is continuing to fall. Our Airport Emergency Services team is on hand 24 hours a day and trained and equipped to deal with spills – whether oil, effluent or other hazardous substances.

We have developed purpose-built wash facilities for aircraft and vehicles, including public vehicles. These systems flush water down the sanitary sewer, preventing it from entering the airport’s stormwater system.

View our spill response plan

Managing soil and groundwater contamination

Historic working practices have contaminated some soil and groundwater sites around the airport. We have identified these sites and are minimising environmental and health and safety risks by gaining appropriate resource consents and creating approved management plans. We are reducing the risk of future contamination by regularly auditing high- and medium-risk operations.

Keeping our coastline clean

We are proud of our location on the beautiful Manukau Harbour. Every year we partner with a local school to clean up a section of the coastline beyond our airport runway. Employees from across our business join the students for an event that has become an airport favourite. We round the afternoon off with a BBQ, prizes and a donation to thank the school for their efforts.

In recent years the team from the Sustainable Coastlines Charitable Trust have joined us too, sharing their expertise and helping us all learn more about the marine ecosystem.

Social responsibility

Each year Auckland Airport organises a clean-up of part of the Manukau Harbour coastline within its operational area.

This can involve airport employees, as well as the wider airport community and results in the removal of large amounts of rubbish and debris that are washed in on the tides. This rubbish presents a real risk to wildlife and makes the airport environment unattractive.

In 2014 Papatoetoe High School joined Airport employees in carrying out the clean-up and in doing so the High School students raised money for their school and learned more about the airport and their local environment.


Auckland Airport is extremely fortunate be situated on the shoreline of the Manukau Harbour. We are committed to protecting and enhancing this natural environment.

Auckland Airport is working closely with Auckland Council and other parties interested in the biodiversity of the Manukau Harbour and its environs. The intention is that this work will lead to improved biodiversity outcomes that also assist the airport in its wildlife hazard management.

Wildlife management

Social responsibility

The Manukau Harbour shoreline is attractive to large numbers of local birds and also to flocks of migrating birds. During peak migration periods, flocks of up to 15,000 birds can gather around the perimeter of the airport.

For airports around the world birds can present problems, such as causing damage to jet engines and endangering the safety of travellers. To manage this risk we have an active wildlife hazard management programme, based on a sound understanding of the natural environment and bird habits.

Risk areas are made unattractive to birds in different ways, including:

  • Keeping vegetation at a height unattractive for bird use
  • Active control of food sources such as worms, small rodents and rubbish
  • Providing suitable bird environments in low risk areas e.g. the company has developed and continues to monitor a bird roost at Wiroa Island - a roost now recognised as having regional significance
  • Using mylar flags, predator balloons and other measures to scare birds
  • Close monitoring of bird movements and behaviour patterns.

Mangrove removal

Social responsibility

Due to a significant risk from an increasing black swan population, Auckland Airport applied for resource consent to remove a large area of mangroves from an embayment at the western end of the main runway.

This project included a trial to test the effectiveness of mechanical removal of the mangroves. This proved very successful and in 2012 a total of 13 hectares of mangroves were removed. The consent requires on-going monitoring of the organisms in the sediments in the embayment, the removal of debris and the impact on bird movements around the airport.


As the gateway to New Zealand, over 70% of international visitors to our country pass through our airport. We want our passengers to appreciate the unique beauty of our country’s landscape and we also want to create a real identity for the District at Auckland Airport, our business hub.

An attractive environment is created through:

  • Design guidelines to co-ordinate the overall image of the airport. These include guidelines for building design, sites services and signage
  • Ensuring we keep a clean and tidy airport
  • Developing and maintaining recreational areas, gardens and grounds to a high standard, including planted berms and car park gardens
  • Providing recreational areas for travellers, visitors and airport workers.

Social responsibility

Environmental Management Plan

View our Environmental Management Plan


Spill Response Plan

View our Spill Response Plan