Athletes add excitement to school holiday travel at Auckland Airport

28 June 2023

Kiwi travellers will be rubbing shoulders with sports stars and their supporters during the busy July school holidays at Auckland Airport.

With the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicking off across New Zealand and Australia from 20 July, the Silver Ferns heading to South Africa for the Netball World Cup, and the All Blacks contesting the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship both here and abroad it is a big month for travelling sports teams and their fans at Auckland Airport.

Scott Tasker, Chief Customer Officer at Auckland Airport, said July is typically one of the busiest periods across both domestic and international travel at Auckland Airport, even without the sports tournaments in the mix.

“The July school holidays tend to be a popular time for families to travel, either heading away locally to catch up with whānau or to the snow or flying out to grab some sunshine in the Pacific or summer sun in the Northern Hemisphere.

“As kids hit the midway point of the school year it seems families are taking the opportunity for a break, so we’re seeing even higher travel numbers than the April school holidays, which had the benefit of public holidays at either end,” he said.

Based on forecasts, international departures started to build from Tuesday, 27 June peaking on Saturday 1 July, the first day of the school holidays, which will be the busiest day of departures for the month with an estimated 15,000 people jetting off overseas from Auckland. Internationally, Australia, USA and China are the most popular destinations, with Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown leading the list of domestic destinations this July.

“The final weekend of the school holidays, which includes the Matariki celebration, is when arrivals will be most busy as families return – hopefully nice and refreshed – for the start of term three.”

Managing the arrival of high-profile sports teams and their support crews from across the globe has meant months of planning between the team at Auckland Airport and its aviation system partners.

“We’re a pretty sports mad bunch at Auckland Airport so it’s going to be a real treat to welcome and farewell all this international talent to Aotearoa New Zealand. Sports people typically travel with quite a bit of gear, so we’ve got plans in place to manage that.

“We’ve also spent some time and effort working on the international arrivals process for all travellers. We know at certain times the experience hasn’t been as smooth as what we’d like or what our customers expect.

“The airport really is an ecosystem, where everyone across the aviation system plays a part to make sure it operates as efficiently and effortlessly as possible, so we’ve looked at where we can ease that arrivals journey while still ensuring effective border processes, particularly during the daily peaks.”

Repair work needed on areas flooded during Auckland’s severe weather in late January is still underway.

“It’s important all the water damaged areas are thoroughly dried out before the wall linings are reinstalled. We’re also working through the replacement of the international check-in systems and equipment affected by floodwater, so you’ll see some hoardings in place, but everything is functioning close to normal,” Mr Tasker said.

July school holiday travel in numbers

Top international destinations: Australia, United States, Fiji

Top domestic destinations: Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown

Three busiest days for international arrivals: Sunday 16 July, Sunday 9 July, Saturday 15 July

Three busiest days for international departures: Saturday 1 July, Friday 30 June, Thursday 29 June

Three busiest days for domestic arrivals: Friday 7 July, Friday 14 July, Friday 30 June

Three busiest days for domestic departures: Friday 7 July, Friday 30 June, Friday 14 July.


Notes to editors:

June 2023: 23 international airlines flying to 39 destinations. June 2019 (pre-COVID): 27 airlines flying to 42 destinations. International capacity is at 91% of 2019.

Australian School Holidays

  • New South Wales & Western Australia: 1 July – 16 July (coinciding with NZ July school holidays)
  • Queensland & Victoria: 24 June – 9 July
South Australia & Tasmania: 8 July – 23 July