Auckland Airport was one of the busiest airports in the Asia-Pacific region last month, with the hub seeing more than 100 domestic flights per day.
Approximately 231,600 fliers travelled through its international and domestic terminals in June, of which 206,321 people, or 89 per cent, were flying domestically, Auckland Airport officials said today.
Christchurch was the top destination of choice from Auckland with 10 daily flights for the month of June, followed by Great Barrier Island with seven flights. Wellington had around six flights per day from Auckland, while Queenstown had three flights.
Of the 22,371 international passengers at the airport in June, around 9000 were arrivals - Kiwis and permanent residents returning home.
Auckland Airport's aeronautical commercial general mamager, Scott Tasker, said Kiwis have been "picking up on Tourism New Zealand’s message and getting out to see their own country".
“Kiwis are fortunate to be able to fly domestically with so few restrictions and they’re taking advantage of that,” Mr Tasker said. “Businesses and communities from Christchurch to Great Barrier Island rely on airlinks to stay connected, so it’s been great to see the recovery of domestic travel.”
He said traveller numbers saw an increase over the July school holidays, with domestic passenger demand sitting at around 60 per cent from the same time last year.
"While we’re on the right track and it’s encouraging to see people returning to travel, we still have a long way to go."
While passenger numbers were down 85 per cent overall compared to the same month last year, the strength of the domestic market meant Auckland Airport was busier than some of the largest airports in Australia and Asia, he said.
In Australia, Brisbane Airport saw 184,616 passengers last month, or 20 per cent lower than Auckland Airport; Sydney, meanwhile, had 172,000 passengers, or 25 per cent lower than Auckland. In Asia, Singapore's Changi Airport had 48,200 passengers, or 79 per cent lower than Auckland, and Hong Kong had 59,000, or 74 per cent lower than Auckland.
Auckland’s June numbers trailed 28 per cent behind the UK's London Heathrow Airport, however, with the hub seeing 320,283 passengers for the month of June.
Mr Tasker said the numbers demonstrated the stark reality of the challenges faced by airlines and airports around the world.
“Everyone in the aviation and tourism industry has been significantly affected by Covid-19. While we’re facing challenges in the short term we know that New Zealand is a very desirable destination for travellers and airlines will continue to want to fly here in future,” he said.
Barrier Air CEO Nick Pearson said the airport's support of their air services to the Aotea Great Barrier Island community during the Covid-19 pandemic had been crucial.
“Auckland Airport’s support has enabled us to keep operating flights ensuring the provision of medical supplies and personnel, food and household grocery supplies, business freight and essential passenger travel in support of the Great Barrier Island community.”
Auckland Airport is connected to 22 airports across the country.