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Domestic travel takes off for July school holidays

New Zealanders are getting out and enjoying their own back yard with Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown the top destinations for passengers departing from Auckland Airport over the school holidays.

July school holidays are traditionally the busiest travel period outside of the Christmas break at Auckland Airport, says general manager operations Anna Cassels-Brown.

“The easing of restrictions for domestic travel in early May meant Kiwis have grabbed the opportunity to get out around New Zealand, which is great to see.”

Last year more than 60,000 travellers passed through Auckland Airport on peak days during the July school holidays – enough to fill both Eden Park and Spark Arena.

While the border restrictions have put a temporary halt to jetting off internationally, this year an average of around 16,100 travellers are predicted to arrive or depart at Auckland Airport domestic terminal on each of the busiest school holiday travel days – approximately 57 per cent of 2019 domestic traveller numbers.

Air New Zealand has adjusted its schedule to add extra flights and Jetstar restarted its domestic operation on July 1, with 2651 flights scheduled over the school holiday period.

Of the domestic destinations, Queenstown has experienced the biggest boost from school holidays with passenger numbers doubling over the two-week break compared to the weeks leading up to it.

By today all food and beverage operators and most retailers will be open for both travellers and others at the domestic terminal. Also re-opening this week are Auckland Airport’s Park & Ride facility, and the SkyBus service between the city and the airport.

“These are important steps in our industry’s recovery. Every traveller is not only the lifeblood of airlines and airports, but also a potential customer who may want a coffee or something to eat while waiting for their flight, or need to find a gift at an airport retailer, or use a transport operator to get to or from the airport. These businesses have also been hit really hard, so it’s great to see them open again,” says Anna.

It’s a very different picture at the international terminal though, which remains eerily quiet due to travel restrictions introduced by the New Zealand Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Without July school holiday destinations such as the Pacific Islands available, our international traveller numbers are 95 per cent lower than normal. On average only around 1100 international passengers are forecast to arrive or depart each day over the holiday fortnight,” she says.

The Auckland Airport team has been working hard to ensure everyone travels with confidence through the terminals and on to their next destination.

“While physical distancing isn’t a requirement under Alert Level 1, we are encouraging customers to keep their distance from people they don’t know in public places, and for everyone to take extra care with hygiene.”

High touch areas are being sanitised frequently, and hand sanitiser stations are available throughout both airport terminals.

Top ten domestic travel days:

  1. Sunday, July 12, 2020
  2. Friday, July 10, 2020
  3. Friday, July 17, 2020
  4. Sunday, July 19, 2020
  5. Monday, July 06, 2020
  6. Monday, July 13 2020
  7. Thursday, July 9, 2020
  8. Thursday, July 16, 2020
  9. Wednesday, July 8, 2020
  10. Wednesday, July 15, 2020
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