WELLINGTON, June 8 New Zealand's Auckland
International Airport said on Thursday it will spend
NZ$1.8 billion ($1.3 billion) over the next five years to expand
and improve facilities as record numbers of tourists arrive in
the Pacific country.
The operator of the country's largest airport said it
planned to boost the number of international aircraft gates,
build a new domestic terminal and expand its immigration and
check-in processing areas.
"As a result of this significant investment in
infrastructure over the next five years, there will be better
and faster passenger journeys through and around our airport,"
chief executive Adrian Littlewood said in a statement.
New Zealand is in the midst of a visitor boom, with a record
number of people entering the country and tourism overtaking the
dairy industry as the nation's top export earner.
The number of passengers at Auckland Airport has grown by
almost a quarter in the past three years to around 18 million a
year, leaving infrastructure struggling to keep up. National
carrier Air New Zealand has urged the airport to
upgrade its facilities.
The airport said average international passenger charges
over the next five years would decrease around 1.7 percent a
year in real terms, while domestic passenger fees would rise 0.8
percent, targetting a return on investment of 6.99 percent.
Auckland Airport is also planning a second international
runway for 2028, and would charge a runway land charge of
NZ$1.19 for each passenger from 2020 or 2021 when construction
is expected to start.
($1 = 1.3904 New Zealand dollars)
(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Richard Pullin)