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14 Dec 2021

Christchurch Airport calls for patience ahead of Christmas travel

With travel to family, festivities and summer holidays approaching, the airport terminal will be especially busy on December 23… but the rush will start before that.

Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer Justin Watson says the airport will get a lot busier this week, when Aucklanders who are fully vaccinated, or have had a negative Covid test within 72 hours of travel, begin to travel around the country.

"This Wednesday is going to be very busy, but we’re well prepared and used to managing big numbers,” he says. “Safety remains our top priority, so in addition to the requirements to fly, facemasks and scanning are mandatory, along with using hand sanitiser and we have increased cleaning protocols."

- Justin Watson

The busiest domestic travel day will be on Thursday week, when 212 flights are scheduled.

"On the 23rd, we’ll have about 19,000 passengers through the domestic terminal,” says Justin Watson. “That number doesn’t include travellers’ friends and family, so the terminal will be buzzing! As people get used to the busy-ness again, we ask everyone to be tolerant and patient. The few extra pre-travel requirements may take travellers a little longer to manage before their flight. We want everything to go smoothly, so ask people coming to the airport to look after themselves and others, and to be patient with airport and airline staff. "

- Justin Watson

“Airlines are asking people to arrive 60 minutes ahead of their flight,” he says. “We expect our drop-off/pick-up area to be especially busy, so suggest people check their parking options on our website.

“It will be more important than usual to arrive at the airport well prepared, with everything you need and with carry-on and checked baggage within the weight limits.

“Travelling to be with loved ones is extra special, but some people will be a little anxious. That’s why we will have New Zealand’s first “airpawt ambassadors” on duty. Our P.A.W.S programme (Pups Assisting With Stress) has St John therapy dogs in the terminal for pats, cuddles and “paw-fives”.

“Our Christmas wish for all our visitors is for them relax and enjoy their holiday.”