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Auckland Airport ready for quarantine-free trans-Tasman travel

The arrival of the first quarantine-free travellers from Australia on Monday, April 19, will trigger a full operational split of Auckland Airport’s international terminal to handle the physical separation of arrivals heading into managed isolation or quarantine.

Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood says, after months of preparation and planning, it was exciting to be able to fully reconnect with Australia.

“I’m sure this news will be most welcomed by those families who have been separated across the Tasman for the past year. Technology is amazing for staying connected but it’s just not the same as being together for life’s big moments.

“It is also great news for those businesses keen to get back to face-to-face meetings, and of course, the tourism, accommodation and hospitality sectors, which have been hit incredibly hard over the past year.

“The team at Auckland Airport is excited to be welcoming more passengers through its international terminal and putting into action the plans for safely managing different categories of international travellers arriving into New Zealand.”

Auckland Airport announced last August it was creating two fully separated zones within the international terminal to protect the health and safety of people flying to and from countries with which New Zealand had made quarantine-free arrangements.

The main pier will be Zone A: Safe Travel area, which will be used by quarantine-free arrivals and all departures. A second self-contained zone on the international terminal’s Pier B will form Zone B: Health Management area for processing arrivals who are going on to managed isolation facilities and transit passengers. A final infection control audit by the Ministry of Health will occur before the first quarantine-free flights.

“The full separation of travellers based on health risk is something we’ve been preparing to manage for some time now, working with government border agencies and health officials on the solution. The physical works have been completed and a number of flights have been processed through the Health Management area since December to test and refine the passenger process.

“It’s a significant change to how we’ve been operating for more than a year now, but is a crucial step for ensuring the health and safety of the thousands of travellers that are going to be flying to and from safe travel zone countries, and the wider New Zealand community,” says Adrian.

“And while Auckland Airport will be ready to begin processing passengers through the two different zones when quarantine-free travel resumes, passengers will need to prepare themselves for changes at the airport if they haven’t been here for more than a year,” he says.

Auckland Airport has been using the period of low passenger volumes to continue upgrading our roading network, both on-precinct and, alongside NZTA and AT, on SH20B, the main road into the airport from the south.

Last week the first stage of an upgrade to SH20B saw four lanes re-open as part of a project to improve public transport connections and safety along this route.

On precinct, work to add high occupancy vehicle lanes and shared pedestrian and cycle paths to George Bolt Memorial Drive, the main road into the airport from the north, is ongoing. The project, which includes a new one-way loop road connecting the international terminal back into George Bolt Memorial Drive, will continue into the second half of 2021.

“We ask that people carefully follow directions and signage on the roads as it’s possible things have changed since they were last catching a flight.

“Within the terminal itself, we’ve had a core group of retail and food and beverage operators who have provided the essentials to departing passengers since the border closed last year. With this announcement, we expect a number of other outlets to re-open, so we’ll be working with them over the next few days to confirm their plans.

“I do want to acknowledge the teams who have worked over the past year to make sure people can safely travel through Auckland Airport. These are the teams who have felt the full impact of the border closures but have continued to show incredible resilience and professionalism through what has been an extremely uncertain time.”

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