Preparing for the perfect take-off this summer

13 Dec 2021

Photo credit Mark Tantrum

As Christmas approaches and Auckland gets ready to open its borders to the rest of New Zealand on 15 December, Wellington Airport is encouraging passengers to be prepared for the perfect take off.

Wellington Airport’s Chief Executive Steve Sanderson said: “With international borders closed, and holiday options limited, Kiwis are making the most of all New Zealand has to offer, particularly Aucklanders who have been stuck at home for the past three months.

The airport is expecting up to 330,000 domestic travellers through the terminal for the Christmas and New Year period, from Monday 20 December to Sunday 9 January. Christmas Eve is set to be the busiest, with more than 20,000 seats operated. The holiday period will see 12% more domestic capacity than the same period in 2019/20, before Covid first arrived in New Zealand, with 36% more regional seats being operated. Capacity between Wellington and Tauranga, New Plymouth, Hamilton, and Gisborne will be almost twice as high as pre-Covid levels while Invercargill, Dunedin and Napier will be 50% busier.

With new safe travel processes in place, including the requirement to show vaccine passes or negative PCR tests before boarding most flights from 15 December, Sanderson says the airport will be buzzing and passengers will need to be prepared to avoid delays.

“For the first couple of weeks, it’s likely there may be longer queues than usual for check-in and boarding while travellers get used to the new requirements. We are advising travellers to check their airline’s requirements before coming to the terminal and do as much as possible in advance, such as checking in online and uploading vaccine passes”.

Sanderson acknowledges some passengers may be worried about travelling once there is Covid in the community, but he is confident Wellington Airport has the processes in place to keep people safe.

“We have been working closely with the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Health to ensure we are meeting all requirements under the new traffic light framework. In addition to showing proof of vaccinations or negative PCR test results, passengers will also need to continue to scan in when they arrive at the terminal and when visiting any of the airport stores. They must also continue to wear masks, unless eating or drinking.

“At the airport, we will continue to deep clean all facilities and key touch points, ensure hand sanitisers are available and support our airport tenants to meet their own health and safety requirements.

“We are really pleased to see such positive domestic passenger numbers this summer. It demonstrates how much Kiwis love to travel and will go a long way to help many regions who have been struggling without their usual international visitors.

“All the team are looking forward to welcoming passengers and wish everyone a safe and relaxing Christmas break”.

Tips for travellers this summer

  • Arrive at the airport 60 minutes before your flight to avoid any disruption and allow time to do any last-minute Christmas shopping.
  • Make sure you have your My Vaccine Pass, or a negative Covid-19 test result ready to show airlines when you check in.
  • To avoid queues, check in online and upload your vaccination status in advance if possible.
  • Book parking online in advance ahead of your travel dates to secure your space and get a better deal.
  • Remember to scan in at the terminal and at all airport stores. This makes it easier to track your movements if there is a positive case at the airport.
  • Bring a mask. You must wear one in the terminal and on your flight. Some airlines may have spares if you forget.
  • Ask for one of our sunflower lanyards if you or someone you are travelling with has a hidden disability such as autism, dementia or a hearing impairment. This let’s our airport staff know you may need extra time and help as you travel through the airport.
  • Stay home if you are feeling unwell, being tested for Covid-19 or have been asked to self-isolate.