Kiwis hopping away in droves during Easter school holidays at Auckland Airport

04 April 2023

  • Napier comes out on top as busiest regional destination
  • Australia, US and Singapore most popular overseas destinations
  • With the airport expected to be busy, plan ahead and allow a bit more time for your journey.

Three public holidays overlapping with both the New Zealand and Australian end of term break will see a busy few weeks at Auckland Airport.

Bookended by Easter and Anzac Day, many families are jetting away before the cooler weather sets in with more than 800,000 people travelling across the school holidays.

Auckland Airport Chief Customer Officer, Scott Tasker, said the opportunity to extend the school holidays with Good Friday and Anzac Day means passenger numbers are predicted to be just over 80% of 2019 levels across both the international and domestic terminals.

“It’s not often all these public holidays fall within the school holiday period, plus our end of term lining up with the Australian school breaks, so we’re seeing similar traveller numbers to the Christmas period,” he said.

“For international travel, all through the Easter weekend and into that first week of the school holidays it’s going to be particularly busy for departures. On the arrivals side, it’s the last weekend of the school holidays that we’re going to see our busiest days.”

The domestic terminal will also be full of holiday makers, with Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays being peak days across the whole month of April. Christchurch, Wellington, and Queenstown are the top three domestic connections, while the most popular regional journey is Napier with around 30,000 people flying to and from the Hawke’s Bay, Te Matau-a-Māui.

“With ongoing repair work on SH5 slowing the journey between Napier and Taupo and SH2 from Napier to Gisborne still closed following Cyclone Gabriel, air links are providing a critical connection. But hopefully there are also some holiday makers to give tourism operators, hospitality and accommodation providers a boost after a rough few months.”

Internationally, Australia leads in terms of both the most popular destination and Auckland Airport’s number one source of inbound travellers. It’s followed by the United States and Singapore.

“At our busiest we’ll have well over a full Eden Park crowd flying in and out of Auckland Airport every day across the domestic and international terminals,” Tasker said.

Peak travel periods can sometimes bring additional wait times and queues at the airport.

“While it’s been nearly a year since the border began reopening, the aviation system is still getting up to speed. The combination of airline schedule changes, labour shortages, and mishandled bags are continuing to affect operations and these issues, which are being felt globally across the aviation system, are going to take time to resolve.”

Auckland Airport is also undertaking refurbishment work in the arrivals processing area to upgrade baggage reclaim facilities and bring improvements to the final stages of border processing. Border processing and screening areas will be operating within a reduced space during the project.

“Lengthy queues and longer than expected processing times are definitely not what we want for travellers, but we want to be upfront about how the daily travel peaks can impact customers as they move through the airport system. We are working hard with other organisations operating at Auckland Airport to reduce the likelihood of this happening and thank travellers for their continued patience,” Mr Tasker said.

Travel tips

  • At times the international departures area will be busy, particularly first thing in the morning and in the evening when there can be up to six flights heading out within a 15-minute window. This means queues may form, so we thank you for your patience and ask that you factor in some extra time for your journey
  • Our car parks are busier during school holidays so if you plan on driving to the airport make sure you book parking in advance to get the best deal and double-check the journey to the car park – we’ve made a number of changes to our car parks
  • Accessibility parking is available in our main car parks, plus international travellers can use dedicated parking spaces in Car Park C, outside the Novotel, for short-stays (a couple of hours). Dedicated accessibility spaces are available in the pick-up/drop-off areas. Or opt for the convenience of the mobility valet option for the same price as a car park.
  • Leave the car at home and catch a taxi, rideshare, SkyDrive bus or take the train-bus connection via the AirportLink
  • Travellers play an important role in protecting New Zealand's economic and environmental wellbeing by making sure bags are checked that they don’t contain fruit or other items that could bring unwanted pests and diseases into the country. Biosecurity New Zealand has also stepped-up work at the border aimed at keeping New Zealand Foot & Mouth Disease free, so expect some extra checks for arriving passengers.

Top five busiest days – international

  1. Thursday 6 April
  2. Friday 7 April
  3. Friday 14 April
  4. Friday 21 April
  5. Sunday 23 April

Top five busiest days – domestic

  1. Friday 7 April
  2. Saturday 8 April
  3. Sunday 9 April
  4. Sunday 16 April
  5. Sunday 23 April

Notes to editors:

  • March 2023: 23 international airlines flying to 38 destinations. March 2019 (pre-COVID): 29 airlines flying to 41 destinations.
  • Australian School Holidays:
    • New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia: 7-23 April
    • Queensland: 1-16 April
    • South Australia: 15-30 April