Auckland Airport talks up 'fair balance' in new $1.8 billion infrastructure spending programme

 Auckland International Airport has talked up the "fair balance" it struck in setting out a $1.8 billion infrastructure spending programme.

Chief executive Adrian Littlewood says it is probably the most significant since its original development in the 1960s.

The $1.8b investment in aeronautical infrastructure over the next five years came after a long period where airlines and the wider community were consulted on the airport's future needs and what its operations and pricing priorities should be, Mr Littlewood told shareholders at Thursday's annual meeting in Manukau.

Over that period the airport will cut the average annual international passenger charge by 1.7 per cent and hike the equivalent domestic fee by 0.8 per cent.

This would help fund three more contact gates for international aircraft, a new domestic jet terminal, expanded border processing area and public arrivals space, and upgrades to international check-in.

"It is a responsibility to our customers we treat with care, but we are also balancing many other expectations - including those of you, our shareholders, looking for a fair return on a major investment programme," Mr Littlewood said.

"We believe we have struck a fair balance in our investment and pricing decisions for the next five years."

The programme has already been criticised by the airlines' umbrella group - the Board of Airlines Representatives - as only benefiting airport shareholders, something Mr Littlewood has previously played down.

More recently the Commerce Commission said it will have a look under the hood of the proposed spending in its semi-regular investigation into how the airport sets its prices to ensure it isn't rorting customers.

Mr Littlewood said that in the next five years it will take "significant steps" toward opening a second runway with earthworks scheduled to start in 2020 or 2021.

Robert Patman outlined the impact on Kiwi travellers with extra airport screening to fly to the US.
Source: 1 NEWS