Auckland Airport (AKL IATA) is New Zealand‘s largest and busiest airport, with over 70% of international visitors to the nation landing or taking off there. Located in the country’s largest city, Auckland, it is also a significant hub for air travel around Oceania.
The airport is in the South Auckland suburb of Mangere, on the shores of the Manukau Harbour, around 20 km (12 mi) south of the Auckland CBD.
There are separate domestic and international terminals. A free bus runs between the terminals every 20 min and takes a few minutes. The walk is around 800 m and takes about 10 min. It is indicated by signposts and a green line to follow. The path is level, and you are permitted to take luggage trolleys between the terminals. The walk is uncovered and exposed to the weather.
The site was chosen for Auckland’s new international airport in 1956. Until then, the site was the Mangere Aerodrome, used by an aero club, while commercial flights used Whenuapai Airport, north-west of Auckland (now RNZAF Base Auckland). Construction of the airport began in 1960, and included reclaiming land from the Manukau Harbour for the runway. Commercial flight operations were moved here in November 1965, and the airport was officially opened on 29 January 1966. A separate international terminal opened in December 1977.
Auckland is ideally located for flights from cities in Oceania and South America. Many of the remote island nations in the Pacific Ocean are primarily connected via Auckland.
There are frequent services from other New Zealand cities and Australia. There are also non-stop flights from places in Asia, the Pacific Islands, the United States, Vancouver (Canada), Santiago (Chile) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). Air New Zealand flies right through from London (Heathrow Airport) with a stop in Los Angeles.
Qatar Airways flies nonstop from Doha and Emirates flies nonstop from Dubai; respectively they are the second and fourth-longest nonstop flights in the world by great circle distance since October 2018’s reintroduction of the Singapore to Newark service. Emirates also operate flights with a stop in Bangkok, Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney.
Transport options from the airport to central Auckland and the suburbs include buses, shuttles and taxis.
SkyBus is an efficient bus service that runs from the domestic and international terminals to the CBD and North Harbour. The CBD service runs 24/7 at 10 min intervals during the day (07:00–19:00) and 30 min during the night. After leaving the motorway, it alternates between two routes to the CBD, one via Mt Eden Rd, the other via Dominion Rd. Both run to 396 Queen St, the main street of the CBD, from where there is a shuttle to Customs St E, opposite Fort Lane and close to Britomart Transport Centre. The trip takes 40–50 min. Fares for walk-up passengers are $19 one way or $36 return per adult, and $6 one way or $12 return per child. There is a discount of a dollar each way for adult tickets bought online. The North Harbour service runs to Akoranga, Smales Farm and Albany (Westfield), stopping at separate platforms from the regular buses, and tickets are $25 adult, $13 child. Multi-ride tickets and family passes are available. Tickets can be purchased either online, from ticket kiosks at the airport terminals, on board from the driver, or from selected hostels and i-Sites. You can use an AT HOP card (see Auckland#Get around) for one way fares (but there is no discount). You can buy HOP cards at the i-Site kiosk in the arrivals area of the international terminal. The buses have free Wi-Fi on board, but connecting to the Internet can be difficult.
Other bus services run to the suburbs. The 380 Airporter runs to Manukau City Centre via Papatoetoe and Onehunga via Mangere Town Centre every 15 minutes during the day. A cheap option to get to the CBD is to take the 380 Airporter to Papatoetoe Train Station, from where trains connect to Britomart station in the CBD. Paying cash this method will cost $3.50 + $7.00 = $10.50 to the CBD ($6.70 using a HOP card). Total time approx up to 30 min wait for bus + 21 min for bus + up to 10 (peak) – 20 (offpeak) min wait for train + 31 min for train. Ask for the bus stop at the infocentre. It is very close to the exit from International, the same stop that the SkyBus uses.
Intercity run occasional coaches from Auckland to Hamilton via the airport, calling at both terminals for passengers with reservations. Other services require a change at Manukau.
Skip Bus operates bus services from Auckland Airport to major cities in North Island.
Shuttles for one person (as of April 2015) cost approximately:
- to central city $35; from central city $29
- to Papatoetoe $37; from Papatoetoe $31
- to Manurewa $45; from Manurewa $39
- to Howick $51; from Howick $45
- to Takapuna $48; from Takapuna $42
- to Henderson $51; from Henderson $45
Taxi fares to Britomart (at May 2014) range from $35 (CheapCabs) to $86.55 (the top price for Corporate Cabs booked through Air New Zealand’s taxi.co.nz).
Hire cars are very popular given the expense of using taxis in New Zealand. There are plenty of companies to choose from.
There are short-term and long-term carparks within walking distance of the terminals. There is also a park and ride facility with complementary shuttles that take a few minutes to the terminals – this facility can fill up so it is advisable to book ahead. The booking service will give quotes for all the airport-owned parking options. Aeroparks is a privately owned park and ride facility – it is advisable to book this too.