New Zealand's Auckland Airport revealed (29-Mar-2014) it plans to construct a new combined international and domestic terminal to meet passenger traffic growth of 40 million by 2044. The airport stated the new infrastructure will feature an underground train station, new car park and terminal plaza. Domestic and international services will be segregated at either end of the crescent-shaped terminal. A new traffic control tower will be constructed to manage both international and domestic services at the terminal. The airport stated the terminal construction is projected for completion by 2019. The airport also said it would construct a northern runway by approximately 2025 to cater for larger aircraft and predicted growth in passenger and cargo traffic. The second runway will run parallel to the existing runway, and have an operational length of up to 2150 metres. It will be built entirely on airport-owned land and without the need for any reclamation. The second runway was originally approved 12 years ago but was not built after demand fell during the global financial crisis. [more - original PR - Terminal] [more - original PR - Runway]
Auckland Airport to construct new combined terminal by 2019, second runway
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The South Pacific corridor between North America and Australia/New Zealand long appeared an anachronism. After a flurry of US airline entry in the early 1990s, the US-Australia market became limited in direct competition and large intermediary hubs. The 2008 open skies agreement allowed the entry of Delta and then-V Australia (now Virgin Australia), but they quickly paired up to challenge larger rivals Qantas, United and Air New Zealand. Despite the latter two being members of Star Alliance, Air NZ and United were effectively competitors while Qantas plied the route on its own. Elsewhere, global alliances came to define the trans-Atlantic, North Pacific and EU-Japan markets.
Now the South Pacific too will be defined by partnerships. American Airlines will launch Los Angeles-Sydney service in Dec-2015 after years of relying on Qantas to feed AA's domestic network. There will now be pressure on Air New Zealand and United to look for synergies (or more) while the small position of Virgin Australia and Delta will surely be squeezed. American was previously rumoured to be considering direct services to New Zealand, and has again revived that potential by suggesting that may be next on the list. The competitive balance overall will inevitably be defined by the way the respective partners (or potential partners) proceed from here.
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Chinese aviation often features "light switch" developments: the sector can fumble along and then suddenly, as if a switch is flicked, change mindset to an ambitious target and work tirelessly to achieve it. Such was China Southern's 2010 plan to focus on Australia/New Zealand. After having not even a daily service to Sydney, the relatively unknown Guangzhou-based airline is to have 55 weekly flights in 2015. And China Southern now looks likely to achieve the goal as the airline will 53 weekly flights to the region beginning in mid-2015. Increases over the busier holiday season could tip it past the 55 mark threshold.
The next challenge will inevitably be sustainability. China Southern's Australia/New Zealand capacity fluctuates more than other major Asian airlines, with its strong outbound-China market having sharp peak and off-peak seasons. Operating a full year of 55 weekly flights may be some years away. But there is no doubt the aviation and tourism markets are forever changed, with more to come. Not so long ago China was a small blip for Australia but now there are services from the Big 3 as well as two smaller carriers, along with a proposed JV between Qantas and China Eastern as well as Air New Zealand and Air China, developments hardly on the radar a few years ago. China Southern's international push – in Australia and beyond – has pushed international capacity growth from 19% to 31% of ASKs.