Auckland Airport in New Zealand has started the construction of a new domestic terminal, which will be merged with its international terminal.

This is said to be the airport’s biggest redevelopment project since its launch in 1966.

Auckland Airport chair Patrick Strange said: “This is a major investment for Auckland Airport, one which we have been working towards for many years.

“The domestic terminal is almost 60 years old and needs replacing. It’s nearing capacity and it’s no longer fit for purpose and hasn’t been for some time. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, we would already be well underway with its replacement.”

Since 2011, the airport officials held talks with key airlines for the replacement of the old domestic terminal.

A total of 21 concept designs were created as part of the consultation.

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Auckland Airport Board has given the go-ahead for the project to proceed to the final stages of design under the $3.9bn construction programme.

The new terminal will feature 12 new domestic aircraft gates, a modern check-in area, smart baggage system, as well as additional dwell and retail spaces.

It will be built to meet climate change goals, with the opening date targeted between 2028 and 2029.

Once completed, the terminal integration programme will combine domestic as well as international travel for the first time since 1977.

Additionally, the project will see key upgrades carried out on the airfield to ensure the airport remains resilient.

Auckland Airport CEO Carrie Hurihanganui said: “This is all about building the gateway Auckland and New Zealand need.

“A new domestic terminal integrated into the international terminal will make Auckland Airport fit for the future, providing a much-improved experience for travellers – something they’ve clearly and repeatedly told us they want.

“They’re asking for a domestic facility that offers modern spaces, efficient passenger processing areas, improved bathroom facilities and faster baggage systems, as well as better connections between domestic and international travel and via public transport and the city.”