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Auckland Airport kicks off next phase of expansion

Tuesday 21st May 2019

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A new taxiway and aircraft parking area will increase Auckland International Airport’s airfield by about 18 percent and free up land for the next phase of its development.

CPB Contractors will shortly commence earthworks for the project at the western end of the airport beside the international terminal.

More than 250,000 square-metres of land will be converted in a project that is expected to be completed by late 2021. It will eventually link with the airport’s proposed northern runway but in the meantime creates space to enable construction of additional new facilities.

“Part of it is providing a pathway to the second runway but a key part of the work is creating extra space to allow the construction of the new domestic jet facility,” Andre Lovatt, general manager of airport development and delivery, told BusinessDesk.

“This is the start of a period of a lot of activity.”

Auckland airport is the country’s largest and handled 21 million passengers and 178,775 flights in the year through March – both up about 3 percent on the year before.

Its proposal for a second runway was approved in 2002 but deferred in 2010 when growth proved lower than projected and capable of being met by optimising its existing facilities. The 30-year plan laid out in 2014 envisages the site handling 260,000 flights and 40 million passengers by 2044.

Auckland airport expects to spend about $2 billion on upgrades and improvements in the five years through 2022. It has just completed a series of major upgrades to its international terminal during the past four years.

Lovatt said the CPB work is one of the largest capital investments in the airfield since it was built in 1966. It will cost “several hundreds of millions” and will involve the use of new concreting technology to help deliver the project on time and within budget.

It will include construction of six remote stands for fuelling and servicing aircraft during their layovers. They will be able to cater for the largest passenger aircraft – Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s – currently flying.

“The remote stands are designed to give us some head room,” Lovatt said. “One day they can become physically connected gates to the terminal, as growth in airline and passenger numbers demands it over time.”

The project will involve moving about a million cubic metres of earth and 260,000 tonnes of aggregate will be brought to site for the airfield pavement. Seven kilometres of stormwater drains will be laid along with 2.2 kilometres of jet fuel pipelines.

The airport has previously said it would look to have a new domestic jet terminal operating around 2022. Lovatt says the project has a "huge amount of momentum" with the airport working with carriers on the shape and form of that facility.

In February, Airbus said it would stop making A380 aircraft in 2021, due to the development of smaller, more efficient jetliners.

Lovatt says company has ample scope to fine-tune and alter the timing of elements of the work within the long-term ‘master-plan’ for the airport.

Aircraft technologies may change, but international travel continues to increase and a growing number of people are coming to New Zealand to visit or for trade, he said.

CPB, which owns Leighton Contractors, is involved in a number of other New Zealand projects including Transmission Gully in Wellington and the Convention Centre and MetroSport projects in Christchurch.


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