On Friday afternoon Spy got a look at the new landing spot for royalty, diplomats, celebrities and the private jets of affluent individuals, at the launch of Swissport Executive Aviation at Auckland Airport.
Mark Siladi, head of Swissport Executive Aviation and Inspire Travel, was there to welcome media earlier in the day and VVIP guests separately, later in the afternoon.
"At Swissport we offer our guests premium efficiency and privacy. Our staff like to process guests within 12 minutes of landing," Siladi tells Spy.
The new state-of-the-art terminal is a left turn when driving into Auckland International Airport and 60 metres from the end of the runway. Swissport has its own Customs and biosecurity and after their speedy processing, the passengers' limousines will be waiting to drive them to their destination.
Siladi says Swissport is the first internationally-led global standard to operate in New Zealand and he knows they will raise the bar for private jet passengers arriving into NZ's rapidly growing market.
Swissport Executive Aviation is the new name for Skycare, the Auckland-based executive aviation arm of Aerocare, acquired by leading global cargo and ground services provider Swissport in March 2018. The company connects with more than 90 destinations and 25 countries across the globe.
Kiwi rich-listers are using private jets more often. Sir Peter Jackson and Graeme Hart are the most famous for owning their own planes, but a growing number of uber-wealthy locals are chartering jets for their luxury travel.
Siladi won't name his clientele but cites overseas visitors from Asia as creating huge growth in the market, not for business trips but for family holidays.
"We can be ready for last-minute flight plans within 24 hours, as many people who own their own routes decide last-minute. Napier with its temperate climate, fine wines and golf is a popular destination at the moment, as is Queenstown, where the private jet parking is getting cramped," he says.
The international firm has embraced the best of everything Kiwi, from its music, to its fine art on the walls, to the food and wine served to guests at the opening.
Siladi says the America's Cup will be a very busy time; he is already talking to one syndicate about servicing their three private jets. Another busy time will be Apec 21, where the security that Swissport offers will be paramount.
Paparazzi might want to park up outside occasionally. Saladi confirmed a big part of the Swissport business does indeed come from big stars and Hollywood productions that have happened and are about to happen throughout New Zealand.