Auckland Airport will open a new bypass, ban heavy trucks and offer free buses to terminals in part of a $100m plan aimed at unclogging the area.

The airport company has today unveiled a series of transport projects to prepare for the summer peak including a new scheme where passengers can be dropped off at park and ride areas and then be bused more than a kilometre to terminals.

In the late afternoon during the summer peak, free buses will leave every five to seven minutes for the journey of up to 15 minutes to and from the terminals to try to take traffic away from terminals.

A new Nixon Rd bypass is due to open in mid-November providing trucks and cars a new, direct north (from State Highway 20A) to south (State Highway 20B) to enable drivers to bypass the congested main intersection at George Bolt Memorial Drive and Tom Pearce Drive.


The airport will also impose a complete ban on trucks weighing more than 3.5 tonnes - not serving the airfield - from using the two intersections after working with the trucking industry.

It will also upgrade the domestic terminal forecourt to include a new colour coded pickup/drop-off zones so passengers can more easily find those meeting them.

More than $100 million is being spent on the transport network within the airport's 1500ha precinct within the next four years.

Gridlocked roads and clogged terminals have marred the travel plans for thousands, particularly during the past few summer peaks. Two years ago passengers and airline crew complained of missing flights after being caught an jams, exasperating airlines.

Last month Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon wrote to frequent fliers venting his frustration at the slow progress of infrastructure at the airport.

The airport, now handling close to 20 million passengers a year has conceded it has been surprised by the surge in travel over the past few years and has embarked on a multi-billion dollar plan to build the ''Airport of the Future'' with new terminals, transport systems and a second runway over 30 years.

About 90,000 vehicles pass through, or go to the airport every day during the summer peak in December and January, with an estimated 10 per cent of drivers using the area as a thoroughfare. Traffic in the area has been growing about 3 per cent a year as travel booms and the number of people working near the airport rises.

About 15,000 people work at and around the airport with more than 800 businesses based there.

In other transport measures coming in this summer, the airport will operate a transit lane (T2 lane) on Tom Pearce Drive to help improve bus movements and introduce signal meters at the Jimmy Ward Crescent roundabout to help better manage the flow of traffic.


It will also bring in a ''travel rewards'' promotion to encourage people working within the airport precinct to use public transport.

During the first half of next year it will start the new Northern Network project, which involves building a new terminal exit road from the airport, widening George Bolt Memorial Drive and extending the newly installed Altitude Drive, another way of bypassing the main intersection at George Bolt Memorial Drive and Tom Pearce Drive.

Auckland Airport's general manager - airport development and delivery, Andre Lovatt, said the summer initiatives would improve traffic flows and travel times.

''The team is working incredibly hard on these initiatives to enable the airport to work as efficiently as it can through those busy months. We know how important it is to people to get where they need to get to within a decent period of time and have a journey which is reasonable quality,'' said Lovatt.

The airport consulted with National Road Carriers whose chief executive David Aitken said it supported the new measures regarding trucks.