In December Invercargill Airport Limited and Air New Zealand were thrilled to announce the introduction of a jet service into Southland. The direct service between Invercargill and Auckland will better connect Southlanders to the rest of New Zealand, and the world. The flight will be the longest direct flight in New Zealand with a flight time of 2hrs. The announcement was the result of many discussions and negotiations between the Southland Community, the Airport and Air New Zealand.
This announcement was the official beginning of the ‘Jet Project’. Invercargill Airport has the infrastructure and capacity to accommodate this new service however the introduction of a regular jet service does mean some changes and upgrades need to be made. Jets – or specifically the A320 with a capacity of 171 seats, is a much larger airplane than the Turbo Props that currently service Southland. At this size aircraft CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) requires security screening for all passengers, cabin baggage and checked baggage.
Invercargill Airport doesn’t currently have any security screening capability, so this is all new and needs to be incorporated into the current airport layout. Working together with Avsec and Air New Zealand, the Invercargill Airport team currently have plans underway to get the airport ready for the arrival of the first jet service on the 25th of August 2019.
New Baggage Screening Area
With the new jet service comes some added security requirements. All bags going onto a jet will be security checked before they are loaded. Over next few months a new building will added to the west end of the current terminal by the check in doors. This is going to be the new baggage screening and makeup area – BMU for short.
When you check in you will still use the existing Air New Zealand check in kiosks, however you will then load your bags onto the new baggage belt which will feed through an x-ray machine before going into the new BMU. Air New Zealand ground crew will then load the bags into air cargo pallets, or “cans” and transport them to the apron and onto the jet. This building will sit in the existing freight area carpark. Freight Services will be in the same place and can be accessed behind the new BMU building.
Secure Passenger Departure Lounge
The second part with regards to security is providing screening services for people and cabin baggage prior to boarding. This means the introduction of security screening and a secure departure lounge. The terminal has meeting and training rooms that are currently being converted into a new departure lounge. These rooms will be accessed via a security screening area and is being extended out to incorporate one of the existing boarding gates. During the hours of the jet service which is from 4am to 6.30am this area will be a secure lounge. However, during the rest of the time there will be doors that can be opened so this becomes additional lounge space for the rest of the terminal or can continue to be booked out for meetings and functions.
The jet is going stay in Invercargill overnight, so having secure and safe parking is essential. The A320 is a big aircraft, much bigger than the 737’s that use to fly here up until 1995. The parking ‘Hardstand’ for those planes is too small for the larger A320, so a new one is being built. Essentially a new concrete pad with enough strength to support the weight of the aeroplane will be built into the existing apron.
The layout of the apron, the line markings and the aeroplane ‘parking’ will be upgraded to support this new aircraft. Our Operations Manager has been working with Air New Zealand, and the other airlines that frequent the airport, to ensure the apron and parking works for everyone.
25th August 2019
The whole project is all due for completion prior to the first jet arriving at 9.35pm on the 25th of August 2019. The inaugural flight from Invercargill to Auckland will then be on the 26th of August departing at 6am. This service has been announced as a trial by Air New Zealand, however we are confident that the Southland community is going to support this service and make it a success. Not only will this service open Southland to the world but also the world to Southland. The opportunities for tourism, accessibility and regional growth from this connection means that Invercargill Airport will be a hub supporting the entire Southern region.
What will the flight schedule be?
The jet service will depart from Invercargill for Auckland at 6am arriving at 7.55am with a return flight leaving Auckland at 7.35pm and arriving in Invercargill at 9:30pm. The service will run five days a week from Invercargill on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday – and return on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
How do I book a flight on this service?
The service is operated by Air New Zealand so for information on the service or if you wish to make a booking contact Air New Zealand
https://www.airnewzealand.co.nz or phone 0800 737 000
What can I expect going through security?
Allow time to go through security well before your departure time. Place items you are carrying into the trays provided for screening i.e., handbags, carry-on bags, laptop bags, jackets etc. Remove all items from your pockets and place in the trays also. Follow the instructions of the AVSEC staff to guide you through the screening process. Remember, don’t bring anything your not allowed on the plane. Have a look at www.Avsec.govt.nz to find out what is allowed and what is prohibited when flying in NZ.
Why does the new Terminal need more construction?
The new terminal was designed with space to put in a secure lounge. The construction that is taking place is a renovation to adjust the space to suit the needs for security and boarding. Extra space is required because of the size of the security equipment so some walls will be moved out. The new BMU building is required because the current BMU space used by Air New Zealand and Stewart Island Flights is not currently big enough to accommodate the security equipment needed.
What disruption will this cause?
Once the hoardings are in place inside the terminal there will be minimal disruption to the public using the terminal. You will still be able to access all the areas of the airport terminal as normal, however we will no longer have meeting rooms available for bookings.
Can the Regional Lounge still be accessed?
Yes – the hoardings do not block off the Regional Lounge – Just walk down the construction hoardings to the end and the lounge is right there.
How do I find the Invercargill Airport Offices now?
Just walk down the construction hoardings to the end and our office is right there.