How domestic travellers kept Auckland Airport busy during COVID-19 outbreak

31 July 2020

Auckland Airport was one of the busiest in Australasia for the month of June.

With the global aviation market significantly impacted by COVID-19, the number of domestic flights operating from Auckland Airport has made the country’s biggest aviation hub one of the busiest in the region.

In June 2020, Auckland Airport had 231,600 fliers travel through its international and domestic terminals. While passenger numbers were down 85% overall compared to the same month last year – the strength of the domestic market meant Auckland Airport was busier than some of the largest airports in Australia and Asia.

Scott Tasker, General Manager Aeronautical Commercial, said well over 100 domestic flights had operated each day from Auckland Airport in June.

“Kiwis are picking up on Tourism New Zealand’s message and getting out to see their own country. We saw traveller numbers increase again over the July school-holiday period, putting domestic passenger demand at about 60% of what it was during the same time last year. While we’re on the right track and it’s encouraging to see people returning to travel, we still have a long way to go.”

In June, Brisbane Airport had 184,616 passengers, 20% lower than Auckland Airport, while Sydney had 172,000 passengers, 25% lower than Auckland. Changi, in Singapore, had 48,200 passengers (79% lower than Auckland) and Hong Kong had 59,000 (74% lower than Auckland).

Auckland’s June numbers were just 28% behind the UK’s largest hub, London Heathrow, where there were 320,283 passengers for the month of June.

Mr Tasker said the numbers demonstrated the stark reality of the challenges faced by airlines and airports around the world.

“Everyone in the aviation and tourism industry has been significantly affected by COVID-19. While we’re facing challenges in the short term we know that New Zealand is a very desirable destination for travellers and airlines will continue to want to fly here in future.”

Of Auckland’s 231,600 passengers in June, 206,321 or 89% were flying domestically. Christchurch was the most popular destination with 10 flights daily, followed by Great Barrier Island with seven flights per day. Wellington had around six flights a day in June while Queenstown had three flights per day.

“Kiwis are fortunate to be able to fly domestically with so few restrictions and they’re taking advantage of that,” said Mr Tasker. “Businesses and communities from Christchurch to Great Barrier Island rely on airlinks to stay connected, so it’s been great to see the recovery of domestic travel.”

Nick Pearson, CEO of Barrier Air, said Auckland Airport’s support of the company’s air services to the Aotea Great Barrier Island community during the pandemic had been crucial.

“Auckland Airport’s support has enabled us to keep operating flights ensuring the provision of medical supplies and personnel, food and household grocery supplies, business freight and essential passenger travel in support of the Great Barrier Island community.”

Auckland Airport is connected to 22 airports across New Zealand.

June in numbers

  • About 745 international passengers arrived and departed from Auckland Airport daily, about 3% of last June’s volume
  • Of the total number of international passengers in June (22,371) around 9,000 were arrivals – Kiwis coming home. About half of these passengers came from across the Tasman
  • India was the second largest source of arrivals with 1,500 passengers coming in on dedicated Air India repatriation flights which operated in June
  • Arrivals from the US and China were next with about 1,000 each
  • Eight airlines operated international passenger flights into Auckland in June
  • On average three international flights arrived per day, compared with around 70 international flights per day in June 2019
  • In June 2019, 1,535,504 passengers came through Auckland Airport


For further information please contact:

Auckland Airport Communications Manager Winston Aldworth

+64 21 819036

[email protected]