12.50pm: Airline ground operations restart at Auckland Airport as winds ease

15 February 2023

The arrival of LATAM’s service from Santiago just before 5am this morning saw scheduled flights get back up and running at Auckland Airport after high winds had forced the suspension of airline ground operations overnight.

“After not much flying on Monday due to Cyclone Gabrielle, many airlines restarted flights yesterday. Unfortunately, late in the day airline ground handlers made the call to suspend airfield operations from a health and safety perspective, until the wind eased. We know this was unwelcome news for people trying to get back travelling again after a couple of days of weather-related disruption but the safety of the those who work on the airfield must come first,” said Scott Tasker, Chief Customer Officer.

“We will be supporting airlines and airline ground handlers as they work to clear the backlog of travellers at Auckland Airport, but it may take a couple of days for schedules to get back to normal. Certainly, our arrivals and departures boards are showing a number of cancellations and delays, particularly flights to and from those regional destinations that have been seriously impacted by flooding.

“This will mean a busy few days for the teams operating in both the international and domestic terminals. To help airline staff work through the backlog of travellers, we ask only those that have a confirmed flight come to the airport. And while it looks like the worst of the weather is behind us, it is still possible there will be short-notice flight delays or airline cancellations, so please keep a close eye on updates from your airline or travel agent.”

Several hundred people with flights scheduled to depart today were supported by Auckland Airport volunteers last night with blankets, snacks and water provided to those that stayed overnight in the international terminal. Around 55 people were transported to the Civil Defence Centre at Trusts Arena by Auckland Airport’s Park & Ride bus and vans.

“We had basic supplies on hand to help those who made the call to stay at the airport last night. For those that couldn’t find accommodation and may be waiting several days until their rescheduled flight departs, the Civil Defence Centre was able to provide them with a place to sleep and something to eat.”

Given ground handlers’ decision to suspend operations, bags were unable to be safely unloaded from aircraft last night and some passengers may not have their checked luggage. Airlines are working with their ground handlers over the next couple of days to make sure these bags are returned to people. Customers should contact the airline directly to discuss options to have their bags returned.

Terminal operations, including retail, dining, car parking and transport, are all up and running as normal.

Advice for travellers

  • Terminal operations, including retail, dining, car parking and transport, are all up and running as normal
  • Travellers are advised that airline schedules may be disrupted for several days as operations gradually return to normal
  • Both international and domestic terminals are expected to be busy as travel resumes. We ask that only passengers with a confirmed booking on a flight scheduled to depart come to the airport
  • We recommend you pack any essential medication and a change of clothes in your carry-on baggage just in case your travel is disrupted midway through your journey
  • Travellers should check airline websites, travel apps or email for airline or travel agent updates before leaving for the airport, and monitor Auckland Airport website and social media channels for updates about airport operations
  • Travellers whose flights have been disrupted over the last few days due to the cyclone should make contact with their airline or travel agent to secure a flight rebooking
  • Travellers who left the airport last night without their checked in baggage should make contact with the airline they were flying with to discuss options for return of their baggage.

Parking and transport operations

  • Stay up to date with the latest information on your route to the airport on the Waka Kotahi website
  • Auckland Airport car parks and pick-up / drop-off areas are open
  • Any travellers who were parked in one of our carparks for longer than planned due to Cyclone Gabrielle disrupting their travel should get in touch with [email protected] to arrange a refund if they are charged extra on exiting the carpark. Drive-up customers – those that didn’t pre-book parking online – should hold on to their exit receipt for use when claiming a refund
  • Park & Ride buses are operating, as are taxis, rideshares, the SkyDrive city bus connection and public transport. Please check AT for updates to the public transport network
  • Updates to Auckland Airport’s operations will be shared on its website and social media channels – www.aucklandairport.co.nz , Facebook: AucklandAirport, Twitter: @AKL_Airport, and Instagram: aucklandairport.