Auckland Airport says the formal completion of its new international Pier B is a key construction milestone for development of the "airport of the future".

The pier - with its furthest gate a 1.7km hike from international processing - provides two more gate lounges and four air bridges enabling it to handle four A380 aircraft or eight smaller aircraft at the same time.

The $120 million pier is 190m long, the area of two rugby fields, and its gates can handle the next generation of aircraft including Boeing 777Xs.

Two new gates are now fully operational.


Auckland Airport general manager airport development and delivery Andre Lovatt said the Pier B extension was a modern and open space that would leave travellers with a strong final impression of Auckland Airport and New Zealand..

Late last year Gate 17 was opened in time for our summer peak followed by Gate 18.

"We have also refurbished Gate 15 and 16 with new carpet and lounge seating that incorporate USB and power outlets for passengers and airline staff," he said.

New Zealand landscapes photographed by Peter Latham and sculptured godwits created by Weta Workshop features in the new area which has also been fitted out with a new retail store Aelia Express and food and beverage outlet, Urban Food Market.

Pier B was initially built in 2008 with four aircraft stands — where A380s often park — two gate lounges (Gates 15 and 16) and two air bridges.

The airport added a dedicated bus lounge because of then growing numbers of aircraft parked on remote airfield stands.

Following the introduction of the new gates 17 and 18, bussing of passengers on international flights has dropped from 10 per cent in April last year
to 3 per cent in April this year.

Lovatt said other redevelopment work at the airport is continuing to progress well with the international departure area upgrade now 90 per cent complete.


The final stage of the upgrade of the international departure experience was "progressing well" and will be finished early next year.

This is centred on the international security and processing zones, new passenger lounge and retail hub featuring a new range of luxury brands stores and food and beverage outlets, he says.

The airport has been under fire from airlines and lobby groups for its facilities and service this year. It says it is investing more than $1 million every working day on aeronautical infrastructure and expects to spend around $2 billion in the next five years.

Auckland Airport has launched an "airport of the future" interactive map showing the major projects under way and how the airport will evolve over the next 30 years.

Click here: see the 'Airport of the Future' interactive map.

It shows that arrival processing areas and public arrivals space will be improved by mid-2020, a new five star Pullman hotel being built by late 2020, and its international check-in area upgraded by 2022. A new domestic jet terminal joined on to the existing international terminal is scheduled for completion by 2022.

The airport handles about 20 million passengers a year.

Morningstar analysis out this week says that the company faces significant capital outlay but its earnings are forecast to grow at 9 per cent a year over the next decade.

"We believe the light-handed regulatory environment will enable the company to generate returns above its weighted average cost of capital over the long term," Morningstar said.