Christchurch Airport opens new terminal with more services

By John Walton, May 10 2011
Christchurch Airport opens new terminal with more services

Christchurch airport has opened its new terminal building to passengers, with more space, new shops and food vendors, and a much improved general look and feel.

Australian Business Traveller got a sneak peek at the upgraded terminal in Christchurch last week before it opened, and it's a vast improvement over the older -- and rather dated -- terminal.

Its dramatic cathedral ceilings and imposing main entrance raise passengers' expectations, which airport authority CIAL hopes will be met by new options inside the terminal.

"Last week the integrated check-in hall opened, where all passengers, both international and domestic, check in. This morning the first floor opened, which has a fabulous food court, with a great variety of quality food, as well as many retail outlets. We wanted to dramatically improve the traveller experience at Christchurch Airport, and this has done that – and more," airport CEO Jim Boult said.

The airport has spent NZ$161 million (about A$119 million) on the redevelopment so far, which will also include a welcome reconfiguration of the regional aircraft tarmac parking.

Business travellers transiting through Christchurch to reach the West Coast mining and resources area, Canterbury plain and Southland agricultural centres, or numerous viticultural regions will have a shorter walk through the terminal to the stands where their small regional plane awaits.

But before passengers step out onto the tarmac, the airport hopes they'll take advantage of the new first floor food area, which includes outlets from Sakura Sushi, Noodle, Healthy Habits, Burger King, Underground Coffee and The Coffee Club. 

With airlines taking up the buy-on-board trend, the new food options are a welcome step up, especially when compared with the limited and forlorn cafés in the cramped and dark area before the security checkpoint in the old terminal.

Check-in will be smoother and less complex as well. A combined domestic and international check-in hall has 58 check-in counters, plus dozens of check-in kiosks.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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