Auckland Airport is one of New Zealand’s most important infrastructure assets, providing thousands of jobs for the region, and is the country’s second largest cargo 'port' by value, contributing around $14 billion to the economy, and catering for over four million visitors each year, resulting in a 70% share of New Zealand's international travellers.
The airport is the fourth busiest in Australasia after Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports. However, internationally, the airport is the second busiest in Australasia, being a third busier than Melbourne Airport in terms of international passengers. The airport has been rated in the top 3 worldwide for airports handling 5–15 million passengers annually. It was also voted the 8th best airport in the world by in 2011 at the world airport awards.
It has a capacity of about 45 flight movements per hour,using a single runway which is fully Cat IIIb capable (at a reduced rate of movements). A close by taxiway was upgraded for use as a runway when the main runway requires maintenance or for use during emergencies, but it does not have sufficient separation distance to operate simultaneously with the main runway. In November 2007 work began on a new northern runway, to be built in several stages and to be used mainly by smaller airplanes, freeing up capacity on the main runway. However, the project was put on hold for at least 12 months in October 2009, and deferred for a further few years in August 2010 following consultation with airlines and a review of capacity management options. The timing of the recommencement of construction of the second runway will be demand driven relative to the capacity of the existing runway.
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