Auckland Airport has issued a congestion alert to passengers for the summer peak as the number new air services surges and travel booms.
The airport says there will be 15 per cent more international passengers this summer and says travellers should allow another 30 minutes to get to and through the airport.
The warning comes as newcomer Philippine Airlines touches down tomorrow, Air China arrives from Beijing for the first time next week and Air New Zealand flies new long-haul route.
Judy Nicholl the airport's general manager of aeronautical operations, said it was gearing up for its 30 busiest days and had drafted in 50 students to help passengers through.
This month last year the number of passengers through the international airport was a record 781,000 and in January this year 817,000.
Nicholl said many passengers had a standard routine when departing or arriving Auckland Airport.
"With that in mind, we recommend everyone allows an extra 30 minutes for travel through the airport over the next couple of months. This will help ensure they have a relaxed journey. They should also give themselves extra time to travel to and from the airport, given the amount of roadworks happening around the Auckland region this summer."
One travel agent, Flight Centre, said international travellers should allow three hours to get through the airport normally and more during the peak season.
The airport has increased its international baggage belt capacity by 40 per cent, added 17,500sqm to the airfield for aircraft parking, and next week will finish building a new gate bus lounge on Pier B of the international terminal.
Nicholl said the number of passengers that need to be taken to aircraft by bus will increase during the peak.
"We will also have extra staff in the terminals over summer to help passengers, and we have been working closely with airlines and border agencies to improve the passenger experience," she said.
The pressure was not so great at the domestic terminal as numbers were lower as fewer business people travelled.
The airport had a passenger tracking system that was able to predict when there would be peaks during the day and this was used by all agencies to help manage crowds.
Philippine Airlines is running a four times a week service via Cairns and will use a 156-seat Airbus A320 on the route.
Nicholl said new carriers meant there would be more passengers unfamiliar with the airport and staff would have to be"extra vigilant" to provide that support and guidance.
She said said passengers could help keep by:
• Allowing 30 minutes extra for their journeys through the airport.
• Ensuring their hand luggage meets airline requirements.
• Completing their international departure card before reaching Customs; and
• Ensuring any liquid, aerosol and gel containers in their hand luggage are not larger than 100ml, and are all placed in one re-sealable, transparent plastic bag (20cm x 20cm or smaller) and put in an easily accessible location.
The top 10
The 10 busiest days at Auckland Airport during this summer peak season
December 19, 20, 22, 27, 29 and January 3, 10, 17, 24, 31.
New services from Auckland
Air New Zealand:
Buenos Aires from Tuesday
Beijing - December 10
Air New Zealand:
Houston - December 15