11 August 2008

Auckland Airport continues to improve

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Auckland Airport opened an expanded border agency arriving screening hall last Friday, reports Voxy.com, which is part of an upgrading program to improve the arrival experience for international passengers.

The area now provides the facility to process passengers at a much higher capacity and efficiency; 25 per cent more passengers can now be processed through customs meaning 2,500 travellers can move through at peak hour. The screening area has increased from 1,910 square metres to 3,050 square metres, and more booths and x-rays have been installed.

The expansion to the screening hall is part of a $90 million investment to improving the Auckland Airport for travellers.  Last year, the arrivals area facility was reopened after an upgrade and the duty free shopping retail area was also improved.

"Auckland Airport is committed to improving the visitor and traveller experience. Our new arrivals area that opened earlier this year and today's opening of the border agency arrival screening hall all helps improve efficiency for travellers while also providing an attractive modern environment. It's all part of welcoming travellers to New Zealand and protecting our borders with quick and efficient processing," said Auckland Airport chief executive officer, Don Huse.

The Minister of Customs, Nanaia Mahuta said the expansion was a necessary response to managing increasing volumes of passenger arrivals to Auckland.  Record numbers of people are choosing to move to New Zealand to help fill skills shortages in the workplace. Recent figures from a report on 'The Fiscal Impacts of Immigration' show immigration contributed net $3.3 million to the economy in the 2005-06 financial year, and 60 per cent of the growth of the economy over the past five years is a result of the skilled migration program.

The latest 'Migration Trends' report also show temporary migration has increased by 18 per cent over the past decade, to 115,500 temporary New Zealand work permits issued in the year 2006/07.  Since 2003, 105,000 people have been approved for permanent residency, and 89 per cent of these were already on temporary permits. 

"We now have more space to assess and interact with travellers. Finding the balance between facilitation and security at the border is an ongoing challenge and these improved facilities will allow not only Customs, but also our colleagues in MAF and Immigration to provide a better experience for travellers," said Ms Mahuta.

New Zealand artist Blaine Te Rito provided a carving for the new space which was blessed and unveiled on the day.  The carving, an the ancient eagle that dominated New Zealand’s skies, represents the role of New Zealand Customs as protectors of the country’s borders, reports the news provider.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people emigrate to New Zealand.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.

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