New Zealand’s Auckland Airport has signed a memorandum of understanding to form a sister airport relationship with Mumbai Airport in India. The agreement is aimed at sharing knowledge and expertise between the two airports with the aim of increasing international air links and tourism between both cities.
India is a key market for Tourism New Zealand over the next three years. New Zealand received more than 31,000 Indian visitors over the past 12 months, with over 80 per cent of those travellers entering the country through Auckland Airport.
Speaking to The HUB Daily at Routes Asia in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, Peppy Adi-Purnomo, aeronautical development & alliance manager, Auckland International Airport, explained that the new deal was aimed at growing traffic between the two hubs. “The sister airport is about growth and building the traffic between Auckland and Mumbai,” he said.
Adi-Purnomo added that growing the Indian market would be vital for Auckland in order to meet its growth targets. “Auckland is aiming to be near 70,000 arrivals by 2020 and that is a high growth target from now. This will allow us to do that with Mumbai Airport – we’ve joined forces and share knowledge and expertise in the market,” he said.
He added that Routes Asia was the ideal place to announce the sister agreement. “Routes Asia is the right platform to announce this airport sistership – there are carriers that connect us to Mumbai. South East Asia is the connection and many of them are here," said Adi-Purnomo.
Glenn Wedlock, general manager aeronautical commercial, Auckland International Airport said that there has been growth in the market between New Zealand and India with visitors up 16 per cent in January 2014, versus the same month last year.
“Within India, Mumbai is a key market for New Zealand and we believe this sister airport relationship with Mumbai International Airport will facilitate further traffic growth between the two key hubs through joint ventures,” explained Wedlock. “We will also be working closely together to stimulate more Indian visitor arrivals to New Zealand in the peak Indian travel times of May and December, thus increasing growth in New Zealand’s shoulder tourism season.”