Company looking at coordination with other agencies.

Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood says his company is working hard to develop systems and technology to defer infrastructure investment and enhance passenger experiences.

The company has plans to build a second runway around 2025 but the timing will depend on demand.

While growth in the number of aircraft movements had been flat or growing slowly for five years following the global financial crisis, there was a sharp surge over summer.

"We've had some good growth over the past six months but we have to know whether we're on a new trajectory or was it just a strong peak period," Littlewood said.


The number of services operated by Chinese carriers is soaring this year and a new entrant, Philippine Airlines, is due to start flights from Auckland to Manila via Cairns four times a week in December.

Figures for April show international passengers at the airport were up 7.6 per cent to 727,700 on the same month last year and the 12-month rolling total is up nearly 6 per cent to 8 million passengers.

Littlewood said the interconnectedness of transport networks meant if one part of them broke down there were cascading effects.

Auckland connected into complex hubs up to 12 hours away and a problem at one of those could have compounding effects.

"We're looking at our system and how we optimise technology - for us it's about airlines, agencies, Airways and the other airports," he said.

"There is a possibility that if we work with all agencies we can make some really fast progress on this that would be more difficult in Europe."

If airports, airlines, border agencies and Airways New Zealand shared information they could more easily co-ordinate their approach.

"Because aviation is so dynamic, passenger loads and schedules can change very late and you have this mismatch in planning that can create overhangs or shortages."

He said that while the company was trying to drive productivity out of the main runway it didn't want to leave a decision to build a second one too late because of a four or five-year lead time.

Littlewood will speak this week at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig.

Flyers squeeze into airports

The International Air Transport Association expects the number of passengers to double by 2035 to seven billion a year - an average growth rate of 4.1 per cent.

In its latest publication IATA says bottlenecks are brewing at airports.

"Everybody wants to fly but it seems nobody wants an airport. It's a conundrum that we need to overcome," said director general Tony Tyler.

Data gathered by IATA showed runways at Heathrow are already at capacity and Hong Kong will reach capacity next year. About 160 airports worldwide use slot co-ordination, indicating a need to manage capacity.

A Eurocontrol report from last year supported the argument, noting a shortfall in Europe's ability to meet demand.

The report said the most likely scenario was that 1.9 million flights would go unaccommodated by 2035, the equivalent of 120 million people being unable to take a return trip.

Grant Bradley travelled to Leipzig courtesy of ITF.