Auckland Airport closes car park to build $300m transportation hub and smart baggage system

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The video simulation shows the design of Auckland Airport’s new baggage handling system, which will be developed and built next to the combined domestic and international terminal. Video / Provided

Auckland Airport is spending $300 million on a transport hub and set aside land for light rail near its international terminal.

The company is also installing a new $100 million smart baggage hall and system designed to transform baggage handling as part of a planned combined domestic and international terminal.

Built at double height, the ground floor of the four-story building will accommodate buses as well as cars, with the upper floors featuring smart parking, electric vehicle charging stations and office space. It will also house an office building.

The first part of the project, a drop-off and pick-up area, will be completed later next year.

Another part of the transport hub area could accommodate rapid transit such as light rail if that is the preferred option by Auckland government and council. The airport had taken steps to set aside land for an integrated transit station, while the inner forecourt road will remain dedicated to buses and commercial transport.

Airport chief executive Carrie Hurihanganui said the new transport hub would be debt-financed and was being started as passenger numbers recovered.

Artist's impression of the new transport hub at Auckland Airport.  Picture / Provided
Artist’s impression of the new transport hub at Auckland Airport. Picture / Provided

”It’s a bit back to the future because we had big projects going on and then Covid made us all stop, take a break and rethink things. But – in fact, we are starting a new chapter.”

During the construction of the transport hub, the 750-space car park A closes from June 8 and all public car parks (short and long term) are moved to car parks D and E. They are a five-minute to 10-minute walk away . from the terminal and Hurihanganui said they would be cheaper than the existing main car park as they were further away.

There would be more than 750 spaces in the new multi-storey building of the transport hub.

“It will place existing and future public transport at the heart of Auckland Airport and create a seamless arrival and departure experience for passengers, with a direct connection to the combined international and domestic terminal,” she said. declared.

The project is also the critical first step in setting up the long-planned new combined domestic and international terminal, a $1 billion project. She said the speed of the airline’s recovery would dictate the start of work on the replacement domestic terminal and that it would take around five years to build.

Alongside the transportation hub, major developments include the demolition of the international terminal’s east baggage hall, paving the way for the development of a high-tech baggage handling system that will transform the way travellers’ baggage is handled.

“Everyone wants a smooth journey through the airport system, especially when it comes to dropping off and picking up their checked baggage quickly and easily,” Hurihanganui said.

Passengers could now check in their baggage well before check-in. She said the manual handling of bags was one of the main safety risks for staff.

“The work we are doing now will pave the way for the development of a new ultra-smart baggage system at Auckland Airport that focuses on speed and convenience for travellers, while ensuring their baggage continues to travel. arriving at the right place at Auckland Airport at the right time.”

The automated solution uses real-time data to track baggage as it travels through airport infrastructure in the background.

The airport is monitoring the resumption of travel before committing to its integrated terminal.  Photo/Alex Burton
The airport is monitoring the resumption of travel before committing to its integrated terminal. Photo/Alex Burton

Bags are loaded into smart carrier trays tagged with radio-frequency identification devices that communicate their location as they travel through an elaborate conveyor network, both speeding the baggage journey between check-in and loading of the aircraft and reducing the risk of lost baggage.

“While the pandemic has hit the finances of the aviation sector hard, it has provided us with a unique opportunity to advance work today that does not necessarily have very large dollar values, but which would be potentially difficult. , risky or very disruptive if we waited until we were operating with high passenger volumes.

The demolition of the East Baggage Hall will take place alongside other work to clear the East Airfield for the future construction of a new domestic jetty connecting to the existing International Terminal.

Key changes in transport:

• Closure of the main car park of the international terminal (car park A).

• A new transport pick-up area (taxis, shuttles, ride-sharing and rental cars) will open later this year.

• From June 8, the main car park outside the international terminal will close to allow work to start on the new transport hub, with the new covered public pick-up due to reopen at the end of 2023.

• Later this year, the demolition at the west end of the international terminal will also mean the relocation of taxis, buses, carpools and shuttles. (The tourist buses will remain in the same place).

• All public stops to the international terminal remain unchanged, including taxi, carpool and shuttle stops.

• Later this year, the pick-up location for some transport operators (taxis, ride-sharing services including Uber and airport shuttles) will be moved from the western end of the international terminal to a new transport pick-up area, located just behind the Novotel or 5-10 minutes on foot.

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