Auckland Airport has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to form a ‘sister airport’ relationship with India’s Mumbai Airport.

The airport sistership is aimed at increasing international air links and tourism between and beyond both airports’ respective countries.

Auckland Airport aeronautical commercial general manager Glenn Wedlock said: "We will also be working closely together to stimulate more Indian visitor arrivals to New Zealand in the peak Indian travel times of May and December, thus increasing growth in New Zealand’s shoulder tourism season."

"Airports worldwide are seeing the benefits of closer ties through ‘sister’ agreements."

As part of this initiative, the two hubs plan to further traffic growth between the two them through joint ventures.

There have been over 31,250 Indian visitor arrivals to New Zealand in the last 12 months, and over 80% of these visitors entering through Auckland Airport.

GVK Mumbai International Airport Aero Marketing vice-president Naveen Chawla said: "In the dynamic aviation scenario, airports worldwide are seeing the benefits of closer ties through ‘sister’ agreements.

"The sister airport partnership between these two major gateways will also bring in best practices to improve services offered to passengers, airlines and all other stakeholders.

"This association between both our airports is very timely. The new integrated Terminal 2 at Mumbai with enhanced airport infrastructure is capable of handling the expected growth in the passenger traffic and can also accommodate all types of aircraft with adequate parking bay."

Auckland Airport is also seeking to tap connections through South East Asian hubs that are popular with Indian travelers.

The initiative also supports New Zealand’s Ambition 2020 strategy, which targets 69,000 Indian arrivals by 2020 which is equivalent to 14% growth per annum over the next six years.