3:40pm update: As Cyclone Gabrielle bears down, Auckland Airport is prepared for whipping winds and heavy rain

10 February 2023

Preparations are well underway at Auckland Airport for forecast wild weather set to hit northern areas of New Zealand from Sunday.

Auckland Airport Chief Executive Carrie Hurihanganui said every part of the airport system was hard at work ahead of the cyclone to make sure its people and operations were ready to safely manage the predicted weather.

“We know travellers at Auckland Airport have already had to contend with a fair amount of disruption with the flooding, and we are really grateful for their ongoing patience and support.

“The information we have at this stage is that Cyclone Gabrielle is going to be a high-wind, high-rainfall event, without a repeat of the extreme flooding we experienced a week ago. While we are hopeful of limited disruption to travellers’ journeys, we are leaving absolutely nothing to chance with preparations underway for all scenarios to ensure their safety,” she said.

“Inside the terminals, we have supplies of blankets, water, snack food and essentials on hand in the event we need to support stranded travellers while they ride out the weather. Outdoors, we have sandbags, sucker trucks and pumps at the ready in the event of flooding.

“Another important focus for us is storing or tying down any material across the precinct that could become FOD (foreign object debris) – material that could tumble about or become airborne and create risks on the airfield. There’s a lot of building work underway at the airport, so we’ve also been out talking to tenants and construction partners to make sure we are all doing the same thing in order to keep people safe especially in places like the terminal forecourts.

“On the airfield, the integrity of the runway and the safe movement of aircraft come first, and our team will be monitoring the airfield continuously throughout the severe weather. If they see any risk of FOD, we will immediately close the runway – something that is standard practise for us regardless of weather conditions.”

Travellers who may be impacted by the cyclone are being encouraged to stay up to date with the latest travel information from their airlines.

“We have been talking to airlines and ground handlers to ensure the whole airport community is as prepared as possible. For customers who are wondering about disrupted flight schedules, airlines and their pilots always make decisions about whether or not to fly based on the weather information they have to hand. Over the coming days it’s possible there may be short notice flight delays or cancellations. It’s really important that if you’ve got travel booked over the weekend and into the early part of next week you monitor your email, airline travel app or website for the latest updates and advice.”

Advice for travellers:

  • Check airline websites and travel apps or your email for travel updates from your airlines or travel agent before leaving for the airport
  • Stay up to date with the latest information on your route to the airport on the Waka Kotahi website or AT for updates to the public transport network
  • We recommend you pack any essential medication and a change of clothes in your carry-on baggage just in case your travel is disrupted
  • Shopping and dining will operate as normal
  • Auckland Airport car parks and pick-up / drop-off areas remain operational. Make sure you park safely within dedicated spaces and ensure your vehicle is locked, windows closed and lights off. Use the free bus service from Car Parks D & E for easy transfer to the international terminal. More information on parking at the airport here
  • For international travellers with accessibility requirements, please use the mobility valet, the dedicated spaces public pick up/drop off, the designated spaces in the short-term car park alongside the Novotel, or the bus operating from Car Parks D & E that kneels on request.
  • Stay up to date with storm warnings via the MetService Te Ratonga Tirorangi website or app
  • 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.