Tim Dower: How viable would a second airport in Auckland be?

Author
Tim Dower,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Friday, 6 September 2019, 9:25AM
Air New Zealand says services to several centres from a second airport could be viable. Photo / Grant Bradley

So Air New Zealand reckons we could have a commercially viable second Auckland airport for domestic flights.

You'd be able to get a plane to Wellington or Christchurch, maybe even Queenstown, Napier, Nelson and Palmerston North.

Airline chief Christopher Luxon says passengers aren't happy with the transport infrastructure to get to and from the existing airport in Auckland.

"Suboptimal" he calls it.

But here's what I think he's really driving at, it's a dig at the airport itself.

Quote again from Mr Luxon.

"Once customers get to Auckland Airport, their experience there is well below the standard they expect for the main entry point into our nation's largest city".

That's why Luxon is putting the boot into the airport.

And not international, which is now amazing you can't fault it.

It's that shabby old domestic terminal, still the dump it was 20 years ago which is hardly surprising for a structure that goes back well over 50 years.

From the chaos of the forecourt out front, to the gate domestic is dated and hideously overcrowded.

Airport managers know this and they are finally getting round to doing something about it.

But it'll take years.

So, is it viable for Air New Zealand to be operating some domestic flights out of Whenuapai?

Right now, it's an Air Force base but the Air Force has been talking about moving everything it does to Ohakea for nearly 20 years now.

It is in the process of leaving now the Orions are being replaced so in time, there's going to be a big slab of land with a runway nearly long enough for jets, out to the north-west of Auckland.

Not only that, it's within spit of a pretty decent and fairly new motorway the Upper Harbour Highway linking the northern and the north-western.

Great place for a new airport.

Or a great place for another huge new housing development, good transport, right next door to the big new mall and close to all those new houses at Hobsonville.

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