Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood says the domestic terminal has had ''more than the proverbial nine lives'' but is in for more renovations before a permanent replacement for jets is built in four to five years time.

Customer satisfaction levels had been ''relatively stable", however, forecourt and transport access was the major aggravation. Work would be done to expand the Jetstar processing space, security processing, VIP lounges would be expanded and the congested food court would be remodelled.

''We've got a whole lot of minor work programmes which will bridge the work to a major jet facility. It's planned and targeted to the pinch points - fundamentally we know the bigger change has to come.''

Speaking on the sidelines of the airport's International Travel Summit in Dunedin, he also said the airport was spending $100 million on transport projects, including a road protecting public transport corridors through the company's land.

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The government and transport planners are keen on trams running from the city to the airport but Littlewood said a quicker way of getting mass transport running was a dedicated busway from Puhinui Station.

''Light rail is one of the choices and it's clearly the preferred option of the transport planners and so we leave it to the experts on that. We preferred some improved and quicker connectivity options.''

The airport was ''absolutely committed'' to public transport as there couldn't be enough roads for cars alone.

Orange cones and construction work would be a feature of the airport for years.

''We've got asset replacement as well as new capacity so for the next five years we're going to be busy.''

The pressure on the construction sector could push up the price of the current airport rebuild, put at $2 billion over five years. Fletcher Building's difficulties could bite.

''Fundamentally if you haven't got the master or the head contractors at a scale of being technically and financially capable it's a challenge.''

Very few contractors beyond Hawkins and Fletcher Building could handle projects beyond $100m.

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''We're quite interested to learn more about the Aussie contractors and find out whether they're interested in looking at New Zealand but at the same time Australia is in a growth phase as well.''

Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood says the domestic terminal is in for more renovations before a permanent replacement for jets is built in four to five years time.
Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood says the domestic terminal is in for more renovations before a permanent replacement for jets is built in four to five years time.

Work on the international departures area was about 80 per cent finished and Littlewood said a start date on the arrivals area was being finalised.

The country was in the midst of tourism ''super cycle'' and this meant the country's biggest gateway would soon be processing 20 million passengers a year.

While there had been rapid growth in the number of new carriers and routes during the past three years, there would be further consolidation although the summit heard key airline links to key markets in Australia and the United States were in good shape.

Scott Tasker, general manager aeronautical and commercial said despite challenges for airlines around the world, traffic had doubled every 15 years since 1970.

''The challenge for us in New Zealand is that we continue to get that share of growth,'' Tasker said.

The airport's research showed New Zealand continued to be underserved which was positive for airlines and the tourism industry.

There was a ''wall of new aircraft'' coming.

Boeing predicted that the world aircraft fleet in 2035 would be double what it was today, and much of that growth would go into the Asia Pacific region.

''The challenge for us in New Zealand is that we continue to get that share of growth.''

The airport's research showed New Zealand continued to be underserved, which was positive for airlines and the tourism industry.

Tourism New Zealand research showed this country was a highly attractive destination.

''There are about 118 million people out there who want to visit our country - isolation is largely a good thing.''

The key theme of the summit was to find solutions to relatively low tourist numbers during winter.

Tasker said the country had made great progress in solving many of the problems in the industry around seasonality and regional dispersal but it continued to underperform in the cooler months of the year, from June to September.

''This is a problem because investment in businesses in our tourism industry continue to be impacted by this soft five-month period.''

The airport announced a $100,000 grant for a single business that showed out-of-the-ordinary thinking to promote New Zealand as a year-round visitor destination.

The summit is being held on the eve on the Trenz tourism event in Dunedin and about 1500 international and New Zealand delegates are in the city.

"This year we have 387 buyers from 27 markets, which range from traditional visitor markets like Australia, the USA, UK and Japan to newer, emerging visitor markets, such as Brazil and the Philippines," said Chris Roberts, chief executive of Tourism Industry Aotearoa, which organises and manages the event.