New Zealand’s Airports - the COVID-19 crisis response
Airports around New Zealand are working closely with the Government, their local district health boards and border agencies to proactively manage the public health risk associated with COVID-19 (coronavirus) and are uniting for the country’s recovery.
Airports are also implementing their own business continuity and pandemic plans.
The packages of Government support are welcome first steps but more measures will be needed to maintain core airport infrastructure and capability.
The connectivity and national reach of our aviation system needs protecting, and in turn the economic and social links that depend on air travel. See Why Airports Matter.
Most of New Zealand’s airports provide domestic-only air connections. See the NZ Airports general fact sheet.
Updates - August 2020
The Ministry of Transport has updated its alert level advice (August 12, 2020) including for domestic air services.
The Government’s general COVID-19 alert levels tables have also been updated (August 12, 2020) across all levels of activity advice.
Trans-Tasman Travel Bubble
Coronavirus the blueprint for safe travel to Australia – read full article.
Official Trans-Tasman bubble plan goes to New Zealand and Australian PMs – read full article.
NZ Airports Chair wants some ‘deep-thinking detail’ on Govt’s recovery plan – read full article.
The target outcome will be a set of safe travel processes to manage health risks while allowing trans-Tasman travel to recommence without the need for a 14-day compulsory quarantine or self-isolation period on arrival in the destination country. The proposal will be shared with government Ministers on each side of the Tasman for consideration.
The group will focus on two core workstreams - airfield, crew, aircraft and other ground handling and operational components, and a second workstream focused on passengers, including inflight protocols, border processing, embarking and disembarking and robust health requirements, such as testing and contact tracing for visitors in country.
Level 1 information
New Zealand is now operating in Alert Level 1 in response to COVID-19. Click on the links below for the latest advice for domestic and other travellers.
Aviation at Alert Level 1
- Table of transport under different alert levels (Ministry of Transport)
- Updated Frequently Asked Questions (Ministry of Transport)
Airports uniting against COVID-19
If you are a resident or traveller wanting information on COVID-19 and the recovery, the best place to go for advice is https://uniteforrecovery.govt.nz
This Government operated website has all you need to know in one place. You can learn the simple steps you can take to unite against the virus and slow its spread. You can find out what help is available and get the latest updates. If you’re not sure who to contact for help, call the free Government helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am–1am, 7 days a week).
NZ Airports, the industry association for 38 members operating 42 airports, is helping the airport community to communicate regularly and work together to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place to keep travellers safe and informed.
A top priority for airports at all times but particularly in this type of crisis is providing a clean, safe and hygienic facility. An airport is a hub.
There are numerous independent companies and agencies operating at airports. The airport does not directly control all the operations. It provides the setting for effective collaboration and co-operation to smooth the passenger’s journey and facilitate efficient airline operations. This role obviously becomes more important in a crisis.
In the current COVID-19 crisis, the role of an airport is even more complex and demanding with more agencies and services now involved in responding to the pandemic.
Among the independent bodies operating at airports are:
- The Aviation Security Service, part of the Civil Aviation Authority
- Air traffic control, provided by Airways NZ
- Baggage handling, provided by ground handling contractors for airlines
- Border agencies (Customs, Biosecurity, Immigration) at international airports
- Ministry of Health (in the event of a pandemic such as COVID-19)
Bay of Islands Airport
Auckland Airport COVID-19 FAQs
Hamilton Airport - information for airport users
Hawke's Bay Airport - COVID-19 alert level 2 update
Palmerston North Airport
New Plymouth Airport - COVID-19 updates
Marlborough Airport Nelson Airport - update on COVID-19
Queenstown Airport - COVID-19 info
Dunedin Airport - COVID-19 update
Safeguarding air connectivity
An airport's operational funding is linked to its aeronautical charges.
Airports have to maintain the safety of their runways and the rest of their infrastructure.
Most airports in New Zealand are fully or partly owned by communities, through their councils and/or shareholdings in local airport companies.
There are activities that need to carry on even if the number of flights reduces.
For example, airports are legally required to retain minimum levels of rescue and fire services to maintain safety.
The COVID-19 crisis is raising many challenges around maintaining airport operations that may now struggle to be self-funding.
The crisis is also impacting many small airports who already rely on funding support from their councils and/or the Government to stay open and maintain safe operations.
As New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 has progressed, airports have adapted to new restrictions on operations.
Other avation activities at airports have also adapted their operations.
We need to respond but also plan well to recover well from this crisis.
Aviation is facing one of its most challenging times in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pace at which we need to respond will test our sector – globally, nationally and locally.
Like all of New Zealand, we will need to work together to support each other.
Our airport community in New Zealand is small and connected - and that is a great strength in a crisis.
NZ Airports is helping the Government understand the impact on airports of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are also talking to the Government about what support is necessary to protect air connectivity for communities - now and into the future as recovery becomes the new priority.
The connectivity and national reach of our aviation system is important to many of our communities including isolated places like the Chatham Islands.
We are pleased that the Government’s support agreements look to safeguard the domestic network, with flights being assured to all current destinations. See Govt. steps to protect AirNZ.
New Zealand airports have changed a lot in the past 100 years. And they are likely to change a lot more in the future. See Airports of the future.
Slot Co-ordination NZ - media statement
In view of the significant reduction in global travel demand due to the current global COVID-19 situation, airlines operating to and from New Zealand should be granted alleviation from the 80/20 slot allocation rule for the forthcoming slot coordination season (29 March 2020 to 24 October 2020). Read media statement.