Auckland International Airport: Arrivals Baggage Handling Hero

Auckland International Airport: Arrivals Baggage Handling

Auckland International Airport: successfully increasing the arrivals baggage handling capacity

Auckland Airport is the largest and busiest airport in New Zealand, and the second busiest in Australasia for international passengers, with almost 15 million passengers, 8 million of who were international, in the year ended November 2013.

Over 70% of all international passengers arrive or depart from this airport, with current traffic of over 14 million passengers annually. By 2025, 40 million passengers are expected each year.

Hawkins has worked with the airport since the mid-1990s on numerous expansion projects. As a result of the successful AIAL Pier A project (which required additional floor space within the existing international terminal), we were awarded the contract to undertake the arrivals baggage handling project – designed to increase the airport’s baggage handling capacity and ability to cope with promptly delivering baggage from large aircraft such as the A380.


Auckland International Airport’s aims:

  • To increase the airport’s ability to cope with the increased numbers of passengers
  • To increase the airport’s ability to promptly deliver baggage from the multiple large aircraft arriving in Auckland each day.

What we did:

This was the first stage of Auckland International Airport’s new terminal expansion and involved:

  • Providing a new baggage carousel
  • Expanding the current international baggage hall
  • Providing a new location for baggage service providers and the existing pier B plant room
  • Completing the tenant fit outs and installing the new baggage conveyor system. We completed this by December 1 2014, ready for the ‘high travel season.’

We are currently working on the second stage of this project.


Unique challenges:

  • The key challenge was keeping the airport fully operational while we worked and to achieve seamless transition from old to new during the staged handover of areas. We relocated the trolley link and storage facilities via enabling works during phase 1 so that we could construct the new building and expand the existing one.
  • The client required higher ceilings which proved a challenge as services were condensed into a compact space with no room for correct clearances under seismic standards. We were able to overcome this by designing and using a structural steel support frame, which spanned underneath the services to seismically restrain them as well as to support and restrain the ceiling system.
  • The old plant room, which contained three large air handling units and hub 11 (which housed all the existing electrical hub, communications and security networks for Pier B) sat in the centre. We built the new hub 11 and relocated all services without affecting day-to-day airport operations in any way.

The outcome:

We completed this project on time and to a high standard, with Beca recording services as defect free.
Auckland International Airport now has greater capacity to quickly handle the increasing quantities of arriving baggage and to reduce the waiting time between when planes arrive and passengers are reunited with their bags.