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15,000 passengers a day: Auckland Airport reveals busiest school holiday dates

Author
Thomas Bywater,
Publish Date
Wed, 20 Sep 2023, 1:57PM
The arrivals hall at Auckland International Airport will be exceptionally busy this weekend. Photo / Alex Burton
The arrivals hall at Auckland International Airport will be exceptionally busy this weekend. Photo / Alex Burton

15,000 passengers a day: Auckland Airport reveals busiest school holiday dates

Author
Thomas Bywater,
Publish Date
Wed, 20 Sep 2023, 1:57PM

Auckland International Airport is expecting up to 15,000 travellers a day through its terminals during the imminent school holidays as families jet off for spring escapes.

The airport’s chief customer officer Scott Tasker says they are expecting a strong start to September holiday travel.

With average daily passenger movements 10 per cent higher than in the July school holidays, it’s the busiest period for travel this year so far.

“These school holidays are going to be busy, with lots of people heading away,” he says, with events like the Warriors NRL semifinal in Brisbane adding to demand for travel.

 “We ask that travellers come prepared and allow plenty of time,” he said.

The first day of the school holidays, Saturday, September 23, is expected to be the busiest, with forward bookings of airfares at 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

While this is great news for the airport and airlines, the forecast is for testing travel times for air passengers.

The airport says there is ongoing building work in the domestic and international terminals, which might add to the pressure. In particular, the public toilets in the domestic terminal are being rebuilt.

 “There are currently some temporary facilities in place as we work to get the improvements done as quickly as possible,” says Tasker.

Arrivals and border screening exceptionally busy

In the International Terminal, the airport is aware of long delays for arrivals and is warning travellers to prepare for delays at passenger screening. Construction work in the arrivals hall for upgraded border and customs facilities is expected to be finished next year.

This weekend, a processing backlog meant some passengers did not clear screening for over two and a half hours. Passengers arriving at 4.40pm on Sunday didn’t exit the immigration and biosecurity checks until 7.15pm, and told the Herald there were few provisions for toilets and families with young children.

Frustrated passenger James Ryan described the airport as "madhouse" amid lengthy wait lines for arriving passengers. Photo / James Ryan

Frustrated passenger James Ryan described the airport as "madhouse" amid lengthy wait lines for arriving passengers. Photo / James Ryan

Auckland Airport said it was aware it has been taking far longer than the intended 30-minute time it should take for international travellers to clear biosecurity and customs.

“We’re working with everyone in the border arrivals process (airlines, airline ground handlers, Customs and Biosecurity New Zealand) to plan for the school holidays and we will do everything we can to make it the best possible experience, without compromising the integrity of border processes,” said Tasker.

“We ask for travellers’ patience and [for them] to please be respectful to airport workers – they are working hard to get people where they need to be.”

Passengers arriving over the busy school holidays are advised to fill in all declarations and arrival information ahead of time and use passport eGates where possible to speed up the process.

International routes from Australia, China and the US are leading to the rise in passengers passing through the airport this September, with Christchurch and Queenstown topping the busiest domestic routes.

Australian schools are set to give a boost to arrivals, with states staggering the start of holidays between September 16-30.

Top busiest days expected for the September school holidays

Top three busiest days for international departures:

  • Saturday, September 23
  • Saturday, September 30
  • Friday, September 22

Top three busiest days for international arrivals:

  • Sunday, October 1
  • Saturday, October 7
  • Sunday, October 8

Top three busiest days for domestic departures:

  • Friday, October 6
  • Friday, September 29
  • Thursday, October 5

Top three busiest days for domestic arrivals

  • Friday, October 6
  • Friday, September 29
  • Friday, September 22

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