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Auckland Airport importance to grow 'substantially'

Wednesday 19th January 2011 2 Comments

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Auckland Airport's role in the regional and national economy is expected to grow "substantially" in the future, a report prepared for the airport company says.

A range of airport focused and supporting businesses on or near the airport, referred to as the Airport Corridor, is expected to generate or facilitate $5-$6 billion annually in the regional economy by 2031 - up from $3 billion now.

The area is also expected to have a workforce of 29,000-38,000 by 2031, compared to 21,000 now.

The study, carried out by consultancy Market Economics and made public today, said the airport's importance to the national and regional economies was expected to increase.

"Auckland Airport's role as a key driver and facilitator of economic activity is expected to grow substantially in the future."

The airport's facilitated impact on national GDP, estimated at $18.9 billion in 2006, was expected to be in the range of $25.9 billion to $31.9 billion by 2021, and $30.2 billion to $44.1 billion by 2031.

The airport was estimated to have generated and facilitated 319,000 jobs across the country in 2006, with that figure expected to rise to between 441,000 and 539,000 by 2021, and to between 528,000 and 756,000 by 2031.

At a national level, the largest impact was from the tourism sector, while within the Auckland economy the largest impact would gradually shift from freight-related activity to passenger activity.

The Airport Corridor was expected to grow faster than the regional and national economies, averaging 3% a year between 2006 and 2021, and 2.2% a year between 2021 and 2031.

"It is important to understand the increasing direct and wider significance of Auckland Airport, to ensure its future growth and role can be appropriately accommodated and supported by both infrastructure development and statutory planning terms," the study said.

The airport's importance to the Auckland and national economies was entirely consistent with its role as the country's main entry and exit point for international and domestic travellers.

"Although an increasing number of other New Zealand airports are seeking to grow short haul air services (especially on trans-Tasman routes), it would be extremely difficult (both on commercial and economic grounds) to replicate Auckland Airport's hub status."

Enough land was available within the airport business district and adjacent areas to accommodate and facilitate growth into the medium to long term, the study said.

It estimated business growth would take up between 8ha and 14ha in and around the airport annually between 2009 and 2021, which was consistent with historic development levels of about 10ha a year.

While some development in the Airport Corridor would be dense, in the short to medium term it was expected most would continue to be relatively low density until land supply became more constrained.

Auckland Airport chief executive Simon Moutter said it was important the airport was seen not just as part of Auckland's transport infrastructure but a key driver of the supercity's future economic prosperity and visitor economy.

"By commissioning this study, we hope to improve understanding about the strong growth potential of both Auckland Airport and the Airport Corridor," he said.

"It is important that this growth is factored into planning decisions in areas such as land development, transport infrastructure and public transport services."



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Comments from our readers

On 19 January 2011 at 9:21 pm Mooni said:
The report completed by Market Economics reports what Auckland Airport management want to hear. The fact remains that the airport is a gateway and it would require even worse management for it to fail. NZ and the tourism sector is growing and Auckland Airport is just going along for the ride while holding a gun to the users who have few options. It is time Whanuapai was looked at again to introduce some competition.
On 21 January 2011 at 9:49 pm Stephen said:
I brought AIA shares for 2 reasons 1) They are a monopoly 2) I liked the mix of property landlord puts into the basic thing being an airport.
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