Soaring domestic travellers bring Auckland Airport's biggest day in more than a year

07 July 2021

Auckland Airport is preparing for its busiest day since the outbreak of COVID-19 as Kiwis head off around New Zealand for well-deserved breaks during the July school holidays.

This Friday, around 28,000 guests will use the domestic terminal, the highest number since March 2020, when aviation around the globe was hit by the pandemic.

Anna Cassels-Brown, General Manager Operations at Auckland Airport, said airport staff were gearing up to welcome the increase in traveller numbers.

“Our staff have been working steadily through the recovery of the aviation and travel sector – now we’re ready, and excited, about our biggest day since the outbreak of the pandemic,” she said. “Throughout July we’re expecting domestic travellers to number around 90% of pre-COVID levels.”

More than 700,000 arrivals and departures are forecast in Auckland Airport’s domestic terminal in July. Airlines have responded to increased demand for domestic travel by putting on more services, with 4,000 domestic flights going into and out of Auckland Airport for July – a 44% increase on the same period last year.

“Safety is our top priority, and we’re asking all our guests to scan in using the NZ COVID Tracer App QR codes, make use of the hand-sanitiser stations we’ve set up around both terminals, and be mindful of physical distancing between your group and others,” said Ms Cassels-Brown. “Of course, if you’re feeling unwell or have any COVID-19 symptoms, please do not come to the airport, stay home and get medical advice.”

Ms Cassels-Brown said while customer volumes in domestic were strong and families had been reconnecting across the Tasman, quarantine-free travel with the Cook Islands was also proving popular for Kiwis wanting a sunshine holiday.

“Over the two weeks of the school holidays, we’re expecting around 10,000 travellers to fly to and from Rarotonga, taking advantage of the quarantine-free travel arrangements with the Cook Islands,” she said.

Auckland Airport follows Ministry of Health protocols for dealing with COVID-19 and has increased the frequency of cleaning inside both terminals since the outbreak of the pandemic. Since quarantine-free travel opened a split-terminal system has operated for international travellers.

International arrivals needing to go into managed isolation are processed in a secure, self-contained zone before being transported directly to MIQ facilities leaving the airport’s main arrivals areas for the exclusive use of quarantine-free passengers.

“If you’re flying to Australia or Rarotonga, your journey will be very familiar: Many retailers and duty-free stores are open,” said Ms Cassels-Brown. “The main difference you’ll notice is the requirement to wear a mask as you go through the arrivals area upon your return to Auckland Airport. At no time will you cross paths with passengers who are going into MIQ, though.”

Retailers in the international terminal are adjusting their trading hours to match flight schedules.

She said travellers returning to the airport should be aware of new road layouts and ongoing construction works as Auckland Airport makes progress on $160 million of upgrades to its facilities and transport network. “If you haven’t driven here for a while, you’ll discover some big changes to the roads as part of our major improvements programme – so we’re asking drivers to follow directions on signage and from construction crews onsite.”

Tips: Start your holiday the right way

  • If you’re parking at the airport, book online for the best prices
  • For the best parking deals, the Park & Ride bus service will deliver you right to the terminal door
  • Check the traffic and plan your journey to allow plenty of time to get to the airport
  • Take care and follow signs and directions as you drive through the precinct roadworks
  • Scan in with NZ COVID Tracer App QR codes which are displayed around both terminals, and follow all COVID-related requirements
  • When passing through security screening, have your carry-on luggage ready to be scanned
  • Duty-free shops are open for departing and arriving quarantine-free international travellers
  • Relax and enjoy your family holiday.

For more information on a safe and easy start to your school holiday break, go to:

Top 10 domestic travel days for July school holidays:

  1. Friday, 9 July
  2. Friday, 16 July
  3. Friday, 23 July
  4. Sunday, 11 July
  5. Sunday, 18 July
  6. Sunday, 25 July
  7. Monday, 12 July
  8. Thursday, 15 July
  9. Monday, 19 July
  10. Thursday, 22 July

Most popular domestic destinations from Auckland for July school holidays:

  1. Wellington
  2. Christchurch
  3. Queenstown