1:55pm update: Auckland Airport terminals quiet as hundreds of flights cancelled

13 February 2023

Auckland Airport remains open, but nearly 400 flights have been cancelled disrupting the travel plans of roughly 45,000 people today.

“We’d normally expect hundreds of flights to arrive and take off to take off across a normal day at Auckland Airport so as you’d expect, it’s pretty quiet in the terminals. We’ve got more staff than passengers on deck right now and it does feel a bit like the early days of New Zealand’s COVID response,” said Auckland Airport Chief Customer Officer Scott Tasker.

“We expect the worst effects of the weather is yet to come but at this stage around 80% of international flights today have been cancelled, with more likely to update plans in the next few hours, and 100% of domestic flights cancelled.”

Early warnings that Cyclone Gabrielle was likely to bring heavy rain and high winds to Auckland, saw the airport swing into action to prepare.

“We have supplies of blankets, water, snack food and essentials on hand in the event we need to support stranded travellers, but the early cancellation of domestic and international flights plus travellers checking for flight disruptions before getting on the road to the airport means we didn’t have any issues with stranded passengers. Anyone who was in the international terminal last night was either arriving or departing on the final flights in and out of the country,” Mr Tasker said.

“Sucker trucks, pumps and sandbags are on standby to clear surface flooding but given the forecast high winds the focus has also been on storing or tying down anything that had the potential to 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 went out to tenants and our construction partners to make sure they were also working to secure materials onsite. And we have been talking to airlines and ground handlers to ensure the whole airport community is as prepared as possible.”

Airlines will assess the weather forecast for the coming days before announcing when they will resume full operations in and out of Auckland Airport.

“We have begun preparing for travel to restart and our Auckland Airport volunteer army is out in force to support our frontline operational teams. Again, our travel advice for the period when flights restart is very similar to before the storm – keep an eye on your email for any messages from airlines or travel agents for updates regarding rescheduled flights, along with your travel app or airline website and only come to the airport if you have a confirmed booking and your flight is scheduled to operate.

“If you have any issues with rescheduling disrupted flights, it’s always best to go directly to airlines through online channels or call centres rather than rebooking travel at the airport. Airline representation at the airport outside of check-in times can be limited with airline employees unable to make changes to flight bookings.”

Flights for Monday 13 February

  • International flights: 104 were scheduled to arrive and depart, 85 cancellations already today
  • Domestic flights: 301 were scheduled to arrive and depart, 301 cancellations today.

Advice for travellers:

  • Check airline websites, travel apps or your email for travel updates from your airlines or travel agent before leaving for the airport, and monitor Auckland Airport social media channels for updates about airport operations
  • Stay up to date with the latest information on your route to the airport on the Waka Kotahi website
  • 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
  • A very limited number of terminal retailers are open today. Shops and dining will be back up and running when airlines restart operations in the coming days.
  • Auckland Airport car parks and pick-up / drop-off areas remain operational.
  • 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
  • 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.