Managing emissions

Auckland Airport occupies a unique location on the Manukau Harbour that includes habitats, heritage and environments that require protection and enhancement.

We recognise the need to manage environmental risks such as pollution of stormwater or contamination of land from airport operations.

Auckland Airport has an environmental management system in place to manage environmental risk. The system includes specific documentation, such as the environmental management plan, that not only ensures compliance with legislation, but goes beyond that to include continual improvement in our environmental performance.


The aim of stormwater management is to minimise contaminants entering the stormwater system and also to ensure the removal of these contaminants through wetland treatment systems.

A stormwater environmental management plan identifies operations that pose a risk to the stormwater system and requires those parts of the business, and any tenants involved, to take responsibility for pollution prevention.

It begins with good housekeeping such as the regular cleaning of roads, cesspits and interceptors around the airport to maintain water quality. This prevents contaminants, like dirt and rubbish, being flushed into and through the stormwater system or from creating blockages.

The discharge of stormwater from some wetlands (such as the Oruarangi Creek) is tested on a regular basis, as is the quality of the sediment in the receiving environment. The results are analysed and coupled with a regular maintenance regime to help ensure the wetlands operate effectively.

The wetlands also have secondary functions such as balancing peak flood flows and providing visual, recreational and wildlife habitat features.

Social responsibility

Spill planning and response

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.

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Social responsibility

Stormwater and ground water are protected by planning for and responding to spills. We work hard to prevent spills and to ensure that any spills that do occur are cleaned up before contaminants enter the airport drainage system. A specific spill management handbook raises awareness of issues and procedures for all airport workers and property tenants.

Auckland Airport’s Emergency Services team is on hand 24 hours a day to respond to significant spills and are equipped to deal with both hazardous substances and other pollution incidents.

A range of purpose built wash facilities have been developed so vehicle and aircraft wash water does not enter the stormwater system. The water instead enters the sanitary sewer.

Public wash facilities for washing cars are available at the two Z petrol stations on George Bolt Memorial Drive and Tom Pearce Drive. A truck wash facility is also available on Laurence Stevens Drive.

Ground and groundwater

Contamination of ground and subsequent contamination of groundwater has occurred at various locations around the airport through historic working practices. These have been identified and environmental and health and safety risks minimised through the gaining of appropriate resource consents and the creation of approved management plans.

Future contamination risks are minimised through regular on-site audits of high and medium risk operations.

Coastal clean up

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