Auckland Airport is suspending work on its second runway, the domestic jet terminal and other projects totalling $2 billion because of uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.

The company has also let go 90 independent contractors.

Although there had been no physical work on the second runway, plans were well advanced and the green light for the project was expected later this year.

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Focus: Passengers arriving at Auckland International Airport say their plans have been thrown into disarray after new travel restrictions.

The company is also suspending work on a multi-storey carpark, Park & Ride South and construction of the 146-room Mercure Hotel near the airport shopping centre.


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"Our long-term plans remain the same, but until we know more about how long the market will take to rebuild and recover, it's not possible to keep these projects open, on hold and continuing to generate significant costs," said chief executive Adrian Littlewood. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Some of these projects were in construction, several were about to start and he said it was important that the company made these decisions early before physical works began on site.

"For many years we have been working towards our ambition to build New Zealand an airport of the future, so for our partners and the team here at Auckland Airport, it is enormously difficult to see progress stall."

He said that over the last week the company also made the difficult decision to release about 90 fixed-term and independent contractors, who were working in positions that are no longer needed given the current circumstances.

These roles did not relate to essential airport services.

"The decision to release these contractors was not taken lightly. Many of these people have strong connections to Auckland Airport and we are very sorry to see them go," said Littlewood.


Auckland Airport was also consulting with a large number of its employees around a proposal to reduce hours and salaries by 20 per cent. The board, Littlewood and the leadership team have already agreed to reduce their remuneration by 20 per cent.

Littlewood said the company remained committed to completing a number of key infrastructure projects, including construction works associated with various roading projects and upgrading the runway pavement.

"The runway pavement works have long been planned, and we are absolutely committed to this project and working through the detail of when we complete the works, while maintaining safe and reliable airfield operations."

The company had taken steps to confirm its liquidity position and introduced measures to substantially reduce its future operating costs and capital expenditures.

Auckland Airport has unrestricted cash of $340 million and an additional $485 million of undrawn bank facilities.