Auckland Airport was busier than Singapore's Changi and Hong Kong Airport in June as domestic flights in this country bounced back more quickly than expected.
Auckland was also busier than the big Australian airports and was zeroing in on London Heathrow, according to figures released today.
In June Auckland Airport had 231,600 travellers through its international and domestic terminals, a fraction of the 1.5 million last year but still ahead of other big Australian and Asian hubs.
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In June, Brisbane Airport had 184,616 passengers, 20 per cent lower than Auckland Airport, while Sydney had 172,000 passengers, 25 per cent lower.
Singapore last year handled an average of 5.5 million passengers a month but had just 48,200 in June (79 per cent lower than Auckland) and Hong Kong which in 2019 had 6 million a month and had 59,000 in June - 74 per cent lower.
Auckland's June numbers were just 28 per cent behind Heathrow where there were 320,283 passengers for the month.
But Covid-19 border and flying restrictions meant about 745 international passengers arrived and departed from Auckland Airport daily - just 3 per cent of last June's volume.
On average three international flights arrived a day, compared with around 70 international flights a day in June last year.
Of the total number of international passengers in June (22,371), around 9000 were Kiwis coming home. About half of these passengers came from across the Tasman.
• India was the second largest source of arrivals with 1500 passengers coming in on dedicated Air India repatriation flights which operated in June
• Arrivals from the US and China were next with about 1000 each
• Eight airlines operated international passenger flights into Auckland in June
Scott Tasker, general manager aeronautical commercial, said well over 100 domestic flights had operated each day from Auckland Airport in June and in July this increased further.
Kiwis were picking up on Tourism New Zealand's message and getting out to see their own country.
''We saw traveller numbers increase again over the July school-holiday period, putting domestic passenger demand at about 60 per cent of what it was during 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."
Air New Zealand has said it will maintain its schedule of 70 per cent of last year into August and overnight Jetstar announced it would restore its main trunk network to 90 per cent of what it was.
Of Auckland's 231,600 passengers in June, 89 per cent were flying domestically. Christchurch was the most popular destination with 10 flights daily, followed by Great Barrier Island with seven flights per day. Wellington had around six flights a day in June while Queenstown had three flights per day.
"Kiwis are fortunate to be able to fly domestically with so few restrictions and they're taking advantage of that," said Tasker.
"Businesses and communities from Christchurch to Great Barrier Island rely on air links to stay connected, so it's been great to see the recovery of domestic travel."
He said the international comparison 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.''
Close to 30 airlines flew here before the pandemic struck and Tasker said he was confident there would be strong interest in this country when travel returns to normal.
''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."