Artist's impression of the terminal development programme.
Christchurch International Airport's shared check-in area.
The pre-security departure area.
Christchurch Airport's international departures shopping precinct.
Christchurch's new air traffic control tower under construction.

Christchurch International Airport is an important airport in New Zealand with a passenger traffic of approximately six million in 2010. The airport won CAPA Special Airport Leadership Award in 2011. It also won the International Skytrax World Airport awards, accomplishing second place for staff excellence and third place for best regional airport in the Australia-Pacific category.

The airport’s new integrated domestic and international terminal is an important part of a ten-year development plan to provide airport customers with improved facilities, retail offerings and services. Located in the heart of South Island, this initiative will enhance New Zealand’s position as a leading tourist destination.

Airport terminal development

Building the state-of-the-art airport terminal began in May 2009 and the first stage of the project was completed in May 2011, just before the 2011 Rugby World Cup was held in New Zealand. With the development of a new airport terminal, Christchurch International Airport Limited (CIAL) sets new standards for quality and efficiency.

Hawkins Construction Ltd, was appointed as the main building contractor; according to CIAL’s chief executive officer, Jim Boult. CIAL made certain that design and functionality of the new terminal would meet all customer requirements, spending nearly four years planning and designing the new terminal. A new car-park building was unveiled in December 2006, marking the completion of the first stage of construction work.

"Christchurch International Airport’s expansion is an important part of a ten-year development plan."

Revamped check-in counters and retail spaces

New check-in counters and revamped retail spaces will allow domestic and international passengers to share services. The new terminal will also have a shared arrival hall with a new layout to improve passenger movement.

The new design has a turboprop gate lounge for regional passengers to check in at, while also using the main building services. The departure area on level one includes several cafes and large retail outlets in a pleasing environment.

First stage of completion

The ground floor of the new terminal has an integrated domestic and international check-in hall, while the first floor has an expansive dining and retail area. These expansions came into use in mid-2011. This marked the first stage of refurbishment of the new terminal, after which the existing domestic terminal will be demolished as part of the second stage of the expansion plan.

There was no service disruption during the construction phase and the airport was able to cater to the peak passenger demands throughout the Rugby World Cup in 2011. Seamless access between the two terminals is facilitated by the large walkways encircling the construction area.

The time line for stage two is from 2011 to 2013. This phase includes the demolition of the old domestic terminal to build a new terminal and some other expansions.

Development plans and service improvements

A one-point integrated international and domestic check-in counters and several kiosks will be located in one check-in hall. New automatic sortation technology in the baggage handling system will also be put in place. Construction of a food and beverage and retail precinct is underway.

"New check-in counters and revamped retail spaces allow domestic and international passengers to share services."

The new terminal will feature a large domestic departure and arrival lounge. The international level will have an expanded baggage claim hall, and an MAF / customs arrival and processing area.

There will be direct internal access from international arrivals to the domestic gates to provide a smoother transfer for transit passengers. There will also be an expanded domestic baggage claim area.

A new taxiway has been incorporated into the domestic aircraft parking apron, to make best use of its efficiency, and to avoid delay in airline departures.

Car parking

The expansion plans include a 40% increase in car parking. Undercover parking will be available in the multilevel parking building, while undercover passenger drop-off will be on the ground floor of the parking building. About 520 new premium car-parking spaces will be available in this facility. The pedestrian plaza will link the car park and terminal. A new 45m-high control tower will also be constructed.


Stringent security measures have been implemented, with strict baggage screening for all passengers on domestic as well as international flights. In line with the ICAO’s guidelines, the terminal frontage road will be closed for security purposes.