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Airport May Expand To Accommodate Pacific Blue

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Airport May Expand To Accommodate Pacific Blue

Old 19th Jan 2004, 10:39
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Airport May Expand To Accommodate Pacific Blue

Mon "Dominion Post"

Auckland Airport could expand for Pacific Blue
19 January 2004

Auckland International Airport could expand the domestic terminal used by Qantas to accommodate Pacific Blue, airport operations general manager David Hansen said.

Pacific Blue starts flying between its Christchurch base and Brisbane in two weeks and it could start a domestic service by the middle of the year.

The main trunk route between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch would be a favoured option.

Mr Hansen said Auckland's Qantas terminal had some spare capacity, depending on the schedule Pacific Blue wanted to fly.

If it wanted to compete at peak times, additional gates would need to be built.

"They all want to operate at about 7.30am-8am, in which case we would have to do some expansion of check-in counters."

He expected to contact Pacific Blue to discuss the issue further this week after putting options to the airline's management last year.

"They have indicated their requirements, so we have incorporated those into these options and that does involve modifying the existing terminal to fit them in," Mr Hansen said.

The terminal has two air bridges and an uncovered stand requiring passengers to walk outside to the aircraft.

Expansion of the terminal could include developing the area between the Qantas terminal and the Air New Zealand domestic terminal, potentially also linking the facilities.

While such a move would require the relocation of rental car company facilities on the site, Mr Hansen said there was no reason why the space could not be developed so that the whole terminal linked up.

However, in long-term planning for the airport, which includes the construction of a second runway, the domestic terminal would move to the other side of the existing international terminal.

So it was a matter of how much money was spent on existing buildings, Mr Hansen said.

Airlines were unlikely to want to move to the proposed domestic terminal site before the second runway was built because it would significantly increase the distance that aircraft had to taxi, he said.

Stage one of the second runway was to be completed by about 2010, subject to capacity requirements.

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