A Singapore Airlines boss says arriving at Auckland Airport can be a big let down for passengers after enjoying comfort in the air.

And a group representing all airlines operating here says it is ''absolutely frustrated'' at the quality of service at the airport.

Singapore Airline's regional vice president for the south west Pacific, Philip Goh, said his company was investing close to $2 billion on upgrading cabins throughout its fleet but airports around this region could be a disappointment.

''For us the entire journey for the customer is important. We put lots of resources and funds on making sure our products are very good in the air but on the ground unfortunately they come up short,'' he told the Business Herald.


''That's concerning for us because its not consistent from home to the destination.''

Auckland Airport has hit back at criticism of its facilities but does say growth has taken it by surprise.

Goh said his airline - which flies 21 services to this country a week - was working with airport authorities to help improve facilities. Airlines were limited in what they can do for passengers once they arrived at an airport due to regulatory requirements.

''You can't do much if you don't have enough gates - we have to bus our passengers to the terminal. If you don't have enough belts and people don't present baggage fast enough, all that affects [passengers],'' he said.

''Is there room for improvement? There probably is but how fast can they do it?''

Goh said Singapore Airlines was happy with its Changi Airport hub, frequently named among the top airports in the world in traveller surveys, but destinations were not to the same standard.

He said his airline wanted to introduce self-check-in kiosks at Auckland Airport to help make that process easier.

''Air New Zealand is very much into that and we're intending to go that way.''


The Board of Airline Representatives says airlines worked hard to give their customers a high quality experience.

''When it starts and ends with queues and expensive bills for parking and food at the airport, this clearly dampens the holiday glow,'' said executive director Justin Tighe-Umbers.

''For the most important tourist gateway to the country, airlines expect their passengers to have a high-quality experience at the airport, and as it is increasingly clear to the travelling public, they are getting substandard service.''

He said airlines and passengers paid more than $300 million a year for facilities at the airport and they were not getting the standard of service they were paying for.

''The airport may point to being caught offguard by extraordinary growth, but the truth is this is the result of underinvestment in facilities over years, while the airport has provided 100 per cent of underlying profits back to shareholders,'' said Tighe-Umbers.

Auckland Airport's chief executive Adrian Littlewood said it took 48 years to get to 15 million passengers and only another four years to reach 20 million passengers.

''Our story at Auckland Airport in many ways mirrors that of New Zealand tourism. No one in the industry predicted this growth and, like in the rest of New Zealand, it has at times put pressure on both our and others' infrastructure whether it be getting to the airport, walking through terminal construction zones or getting through border processes,'' he said.

During the five years to 2017 the company spent 80 per cent more than forecast on new infrastructure.

Last year it announced a plan to spend almost $2b in new airport infrastructure over the next five years, he said.

The new international Pier B extension has now finished and many other projects are just months away from completion.

This had resulted in the proportion of international passengers being bused to a plane dropping from 10 per cent last April to just 3 per cent this in April this year, said Littlewood.