Customer experience

Taking care of customers

Auckland Airport is a complex and interconnected system which relies on each of our many partners (airlines, border agencies, security partners, ground handlers) within the airport to work with us to deliver a great experience for customers. However, as the airport operator, we recognise that we have a critical role as custodian of the total customer experience. We are investing significant time and resources to improve our own and our partners’ capability to ensure that each part of the airport experience meets customers’ expectations.

Auckland Airport continued to roll out new projects to improve operational and customer service performance throughout 2018 including:

  • Completing the $120 million, 12,240m2 extension of the international terminal Pier B, adding critical new aircraft stand and pier capacity
  • Completing 90% of the international departures expansion project
  • Investing in new roads, access-ways and dynamic management systems across our precinct to optimise the flow of traffic around Auckland Airport
  • Working with NZTA and Auckland Transport (AT) on upgrades to their own transport systems to improve the critical network for connections to Auckland Airport including plans for mass public rapid transit and state highway 20A and 20B upgrades
  • Adding further mobile check-in kiosks to improve customer experience and passenger processing efficiency. Our kiosks were used by more than one million passengers in the last year
  • Launching Ava, Auckland Airport's first online artificial intelligence customer service tool
  • Developing and launching our multi-retailer online platform, ‘The Mall’, enabling passengers to conveniently choose from over 2,300 products across the international terminal duty and tax free stores. The Mall's online platform is one of the most advanced of its type available at any airport in the world
  • Building a new Strata Lounge for customers who want to choose a premium airport lounge experience
  • Introducing a new fleet of airport buses and mobile airbridges to provide flexible aircraft service and a quality customer experience on remote aircraft stands
  • Improving the coverage and performance of our public WiFi network, enabling the extension of free WiFi access for passengers

Auckland Airport welcomed record passenger numbers across the international and domestic terminals during the 2018 financial year with our infrastructure and operations responding well to the growing traveller demand despite the ongoing development works. Over the 2017/2018 summer peak period (1 December – 28 February), on average, 31,700 passengers per day (up 5% from the previous year) arrived or departed from the international terminal with 26,000 passengers per day (up 9% from the previous year) through the domestic terminal.

In recent years, careful planning has gone towards establishing a healthy base of information to improve reporting on our performance against international customer service and experience benchmarks. In the 2018 financial year we were pleased to maintain and even see an improvement in, customer experience and satisfaction levels. Our scores averaged just above four out of five for both our terminals based on international benchmarking with 28 other airports.

To help drive ongoing operational and service performance over the peak summer season, in financial year 2018 we trialled an integrated Airport Operations Centre to accommodate airport operations staff, border agencies and other stakeholders together in a single location so that operational challenges can be quickly identified and mitigated before they impact airlines or travelling passengers. The trial successfully delivered real-time cost savings for the airlines, enabled more efficient use of resources and delivered a better passenger experience. In addition, we introduced a new capacity-planning tool to produce weekly passenger forecasts for stakeholders over this busy period, resulting in better scheduling of resources. These initiatives were successful in helping us manage peak flows and are now being formalised for permanent operation.

We were proud that for the second year running Auckland Airport was named in Colmar Brunton’s top 10 most trusted New Zealand companies. Being a reputable New Zealand business and a good corporate citizen are important to us and we are proud to be trusted by customers and our stakeholders.


Average passengers per day through Auckland Airport over 2018.

International 30,900 ▲ 4%

Domestic 25,400 ▲ 8%


  1. ‘Welcome, How can I help?’
  2. Strata Lounge
  3. International terminal expansion – Pier B
  4. Robin Cooper, Head of Operations – Performance & Delivery
  5. Auckland Airport app
  6. Customer experience and satisfaction feedback

Supporting sustainable tourism growth

We are playing an important leadership role in the tourism sector, both the industry and operators to attract people from around the world – all year round

Promoting New Zealand as an all-year-round destination

As the primary gateway for visitors to New Zealand, Auckland Airport continued to focus on growing and supporting tourism during the period with our airline and tourism partners. We continued to fulfil our role as a tourism sector leader, supporting both the local tourism industry and airlines in their efforts to attract visitors from around the world – all year round.

Helping make this happen

Offshore market development programme

Auckland Airport continued our programme of market development activity across a number of existing and emerging markets over the period. In the Australian market our focus was on working with our tourism and airline partners to develop Auckland as a short city-break holiday destination for Australians and the North Island as a winter holiday destination as well as driving increased friends and family related travel to New Zealand. In the China market, we continued to support the development of both the group and independent traveller segments via e-commerce channels. In the United States we worked with our airline partners using their extensive channels to grow visitation to New Zealand via Auckland.

We also extended our Tourism Development Grants Programme, which provides funding to assist tourism operators to commercialise new product offerings and experiences, into its sixth year. In the 2018 financial year we awarded two grants of $50,000 each to Eat NZ and Haka Tours.


  1. Eat NZ - Kings and Queens of Kai (photo credit: Steve Boniface)
  2. Haka Tours
  3. Eat NZ
Growing capacity: new routes, new opportunities

In the 2018 financial year we saw a number of airline announcements reflecting the dynamic nature of aviation markets.

Material changes in capacity during the period included the following:

  • The introduction of a Chicago direct route to be operated by Air New Zealand from 30 November 2018, adding 85,000 seats per annum and opening up new regions of North America to non-stop flights into New Zealand.
  • New non-stop flights between Auckland and Taipei also operated by Air New Zealand will commence on 1 November 2018. This opens up new opportunities for tourism and trade, with the addition of 4,368 tonnes of air cargo capacity and 95,000 seats per annum
  • On 14 July 2018, Emirates commenced daily services between Auckland and Dubai via Denpasar in addition to the airline’s existing daily direct flight between Auckland and Dubai. Adding 250,000 seats per annum, this route established the first daily direct flight between New Zealand and Bali and provides welcome new capacity and connectivity to Emirates’ Dubai hub
  • Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand will increase flights operated by their joint venture on the Auckland to Singapore route, from the current two flights daily up to three flights per day from late October 2018. This enhancement to Singapore services will add 165,000 seats per annum to the route
  • Thai Airways increased it's service on the Bangkok to Auckland route from five services a week to daily flights from November 2017, adding 65,000 seats annually to the route.
  • Philippine Airlines opened the first Auckland to Manila direct services in December, replacing the airline’s previous indirect service over Cairns. The three-per-week wide-body aircraft service has added 21,000 seats annually on the route
  • Samoa Airways commenced daily services between Apia and Auckland in November 2017, operating 124,000 seats on the route per annum

Expanding the property portfolio

During the 2018 financial year, Auckland Airport’s property portfolio continued to expand and diversify. Six new development projects were completed, adding more than 70,000m2 of net lettable area – increasing annual rental income 16.2%, from $68.1 million to $79.1 million. We were pleased to win the Best in Class Industrial Property category at this year’s Property Council New Zealand awards for the Rohlig Logistics project.

Major projects completed during the period included the Ministry for Primary Industries’ 6,500m2 office, warehouse and kennel space; Rohlig Logistics’ 7,000m2 warehouse and office; and Bunnings’ 20,000m2 distribution centre. Additional projects completed included Air New Zealand’s Koru Club valet parking and GO Rentals' parking facilities. Fonterra’s chilled, frozen and ambient facility was also finalised.

A 30-year lease agreement with Foodstuffs was signed in December 2017 and ground has since been broken. This is one of the largest industrial deals undertaken in New Zealand history.

Currently under construction are developments for DSV Logistics and Airways Corporation. Design work began on the Pullman Hotel development for a 311-room, 5-star hotel, which is due to be completed in 2021. Planning also began for a new 146-room economy hotel. As a result of the new deals signed during the 2018 financial year and rent reviews on existing properties, rent roll has increased 23.7%, from $72.9 million to $90.2 million.

As the second largest port in the country by value of goods handled, Auckland Airport developed plans for a new air cargo export precinct. This is part of a broader strategy to help boost New Zealand’s import / export volumes of high value products and further support the financial performance and sustainability of the airlines servicing Auckland.

A 30-year lease agreement with Foodstuffs was signed and ground has since been broken. One of the largest industrial deals signed in New Zealand history.

As the second largest port in the country, Auckland Airport is developing plans for a new cargo precinct as part of a broader strategy to facilitate the growth of aeronautical trade in New Zealand.


  1. Rohlig Logistics warehouse
  2. Rohlig Logistics office
  3. Fonterra's chilled, frozen and ambient facility


Smarter, more resilient transport networks

Improving transport flows to and around the airport precinct was a major priority for Auckland Airport in the past year. We continued to invest in systems, infrastructure and planning to provide ongoing improvements to access and travel times throughout the airport transport network.

During 2018 Auckland Airport completed or started a wide range of transport infrastructure projects including improving access to the domestic forecourt for passengers and buses. In addition, we installed a T2 vehicle lane on Tom Pearce Drive, which supports the increased frequency of the 380 Airporter public bus service during peak periods. To ensure we maintained sufficient car parks for passengers we created 1,000 additional car parks across the precinct as well.

We also started major roadworks on the new Southern Bypass, which will provide a direct north (SH20A) to south (SH20B) link through Nixon Road. This will help to improve traffic times and flows on the airport precinct by directing through-traffic away from the primary airport terminal roads.

In addition, Auckland Airport worked closely with transport partners NZTA and AT on the Southwest Gateway programme to deliver some key projects including:

  • 20Connect, to improve access to and from the airport
  • Airport to Botany Rapid Transit, to deliver a fast, frequent and reliable mass transit system
  • Completion of the Landing Drive roundabout upgrade transforming it into an eight-lane intersection with traffic lights.

Plans for further investment in transport infrastructure included significant progress on our programme of over $100 million of projects between now and 2022 to upgrade Auckland Airport’s internal transport network. To ensure our investment programme aligns with the new government’s plans for AT, we also completed a thorough review of our own internal transport masterplan.

During the financial year we also launched a new traffic monitoring system to measure traffic movement across Auckland Airport’s precinct. This system utilises radar and WiFi sensors to gather real-time information and enables dynamic traffic system management by early detection of congestion allowing early and real-time operational intervention.


  1. T2 lane on Tom Pearce Drive
  2. Landing Drive


Meeting demand for high-end, unique retail experiences

Shopping is now an integral part of the air travel experience. Our customers continue to tell us they want best-in-class retail experiences and in the past 12 months, we have focused on delivering major improvements as part of the international departures expansion project. These enhancements significantly expand outbound passenger processing as well as dwell and retail areas – and we are now in the early stages of retail planning for the future domestic terminal.

Our international outbound expansion project will see the introduction of a wide range of new international and domestic retail brands in the coming months. We have also now launched our multi-retailer online platform, The Mall, where customers can shop at their convenience – including from the plane. This online platform is one of the most advanced of its type available at any airport in the world and means that customers can now easily shop at multiple retailers with a single convenient online checkout.

We are retaining our uniquely ‘New Zealand’ offering. We deliver the best of New Zealand: food, drink, clothing, souvenirs and more.


  1. Hugo Boss
  2. All Blacks Store
  3. Michael Kors
  4. Destination stores
  5. Multi-retailer online – The Mall

Being a good employer and neighbour

Investing in our people, safety and our community

Our airport of the future story runs deeper than investing in infrastructure alone. It needs to be founded on a genuine, long-term commitment to developing our people and keeping them safe and to share the benefits of our position, location and successes with our community.

In 2018 Auckland Airport became the first tier-one airport in New Zealand to have its new safety management system certified by the Civil Aviation Authority – a significant task given the complexity of aviation and workplace safety regulation involved.

In the last 12 months, and despite the volume of construction work occurring in confined operating spaces, we achieved a further reduction in recordable injuries (lost time, medical treatment and restricted work) among employees and contractors. In the 2018 financial year we were proud that our employee recordable injury rate declined by 17.5%.

We also identified opportunities for change to better support our people. We completed a gender pay gap audit and we are rolling out a programme to address identified pay equity issues and introduce more flexible working options for staff so we build greater diversity within our business.

As a direct consequence of our wide-ranging investment programme, we continued to generate significant new employment and education opportunities. In April 2018 we confirmed that our retail partners would create 370 new management, operations and retail roles following the launch of 27 new food and beverage outlets across the domestic and international terminals.

Ara – the Auckland Airport Jobs and Skills Hub – is also playing a pivotal role in providing training and employment pathways for people living in our local community and neighbourhood. Building on the success of previous years, in 2018 215 job placements were made through Ara during 2018 and:

  • 176 of these people live in South Auckland;
  • 105 came off a primary government benefit;
  • 1,082 successfully completed training courses offered through Ara;
  • 68 South Auckland secondary students from five local schools participated in a year-long work experience programme working with businesses on the airport precinct building our new infrastructure, gaining valuable skills and earning credits towards their NCEA studies.

Beyond Ara, our wider education and community programmes provide further support for our community. In the last year:

  • We awarded nine local Year 13 students Auckland Airport Education Scholarships. The students were employed in paid work in our terminals over the summer and received financial support for their studies and a mentor from our Auckland Airport team
  • We supported five local organisations and events through our sponsorship programme: the Counties Manukau Life Education Trust, ASB Polyfest, the Auckland Arts Festival’s schools’ programme, the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer Foundation, and the Second Nature Charitable Trust
  • We continued to invest in a range of socially responsible projects through the Auckland Airport Community Trust. We granted $200,000 to 52 community groups across Auckland. This includes donations made by generous travellers into the charity globes in our terminals. We also granted $335,530 to the Auckland Airport Community Trust. The Trust distributed these funds to residents and community groups living and working in the Trust’s area of benefit (parts of the city most affected by aircraft noise) in the 2018 year
  • We won a “Good Business Egg” award in the Education and Skills category of the Business and Community Shares 2018 awards. The judges said Auckland Airport achieved “stunning results”.

Over the past 12 months, we continued to focus on reducing the impact of our business on the environment through energy waste and carbon reduction. Auckland Airport is one of New Zealand’s leaders in reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change and in 2018 we were recognised as a New Zealand Top Carbon Reducer by the verification agency Enviro-Mark and we became a signatory to the Climate Leaders Coalition with 60 other businesses committed to helping New Zealand meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement.

Auckland Airport has reported our carbon emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project since 2008 and in November 2017 we became the first airport in the world to set a publicly disclosed carbon reduction target through the global Science Based Targets Initiative. Since 2013, we have managed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by over 2,000 tonnes, or 35% per passenger and we have achieved this reduction through a comprehensive energy management upgrade programme including providing new power units to allow aircraft to use electricity rather than jet-powered generators when on the airfield. We have also supported our airline partners to reduce their carbon emissions through introducing fuel-saving flight paths and shorter taxiways.

Our focus on waste reduction and our special waste facility – the first in Australasia – now diverts almost 50% of non-quarantined aircraft cabin waste away from landfill and in March 2018 we won a Green Airports award for waste minimisation from Airport Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific.


new management, operations and retail roles being driven as a direct result of the airport’s long-term expansion.


our people by identifying opportunities for change – working to address pay equity, flexible working options and gender diversity


Named as one of the Colmar Brunton Corporate Reputation Index’s top 10 trusted companies


Now ranked as one of the
 top 20 reducers in the carboNZero and CEMARS programmes

See our performance page for statistics



  1. Krithika Kuppusamy, Talent Advisor – People and Safety
  2. Ara village construction