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18 Sep 2023

20 facts about Christchurch Airport (that you probably didn’t know)

How much do you know about Christchurch Airport? We’re stoked about what we’ve achieved here and love sharing details from behind the scenes. Read on to discover a little more about our history, technology, initiatives, environmental journey, artworks and more.

  1. We became NZ’s first international airport in 1950.
  2. We have a team of furry helpers, in the form of pet therapy dogs. These four-legged friends are available in the terminal during peak periods, ready to help calm nervous travellers. 
  3. One of the many things which set our airport apart is our collection of themed air bridges. Each unique air bridge features floor to ceiling imagery of a special southern landscape, accompanied by the scene's distinctive sounds and scents (yes, really!). 
  4. We have a team of volunteers to help visitors at the airport – Airport Ambassadors.
  5. Every day when the Emirates A380 flies into Ōtautahi Christchurch it plugs into a Ground Power Unit (GPU). As the name suggests, GPUs power aircraft while they’re on the ground at the terminal. This saves around 1,000kg of fuel and 3,150kg of carbon emissions on each turnaround.  
  6. Ōtautahi Christchurch is the world’s main gateway to Antarctica and delivers $80 million in direct benefits to Christchurch annually.
  7. Our baggage handling system has two kilometres of conveyer belts powered by more than 500 motors. It’s just over ten years old and has already safely handled 20 million bags. That’s a lot of luggage!
  8. In the 12 months between 1st July 2022 and 30th June 2023 we saw almost 63,000 flights, with a total of 5.69 million passengers travelling through the airport. That’s more than the entire population of New Zealand!
  9. In 2020 we became the first airport in the world to reach Airport Carbon Accreditation Level 4, the highest level achievable.
  10. We have a robot called Pepper in the terminal to help people get ready for domestic security screening.
  11. Our Living Wall breathes life into our airport – literally! Overlooking the bag claim area, the 29m2 wall showcases the plant life of Aoraki/Mt Cook and gives travellers a unique welcome to the South Island. Did you know it’s made up of 2,592 plants?!
  12. The sculpture in the plaza (Cumulus Gate Pavilion) is made up of 1,000 pieces of hand-cut stainless steel, held in place by 8,000 bolts. Created by New Zealand artist Gregor Kregar to honour South Island inventor Richard Pearse, this impressive piece of artistic engineering has been designed to mirror the sky by day and the footlights by night.
  13. Our 77,000 square metre terminal is smart and super sustainable! Smart technology measures energy and water use in real-time, shutting down parts of the building when they’re not in use, and turning on lights and air conditioning in time to welcome passengers off flights, helping us remove 90% of our Scope 1 carbon emissions.
  14. Our light and sound walkway outside Novotel isn’t just a functional piece of infrastructure to protect people from the weather. It’s also an art installation, which reacts to your movement, speed and direction as you move through it. Tip: the interaction happens both day and night, but you’ll get the full experience when it’s dark!
  15. We have a team that sorts through red bin waste - pulling out all the recyclables, glass, organics and liquids so they don’t end up in landfill. Our diversion rate is already over 50% and our goal is to get it to 80%.
  16. You can watch some of the street art at the airport come to life! Download the free 'Plain Sight' app then see what happens to the Orange-Fronted Parakeet in the mural under the Express Park building and the surfer in the Canterbury mural at Gate 15.
  17. The rainbow artwork on the walkway outside the terminal is an abstract interpretation of the Progressive Pride Flag.
  18. We’re building a renewable energy park, Kōwhai Park, to support the nationwide transition to zero emissions energy. Kōwhai Park will have the same carbon benefit as planting around 1.25 million native trees and shrubs.
  19. We’ve turned unrecyclable plastic into roads. In partnership with Fulton Hogan we’ve undertaken the first commercial trial, with 250 tonnes of PlastiPhalt® laid at the airport’s fire station. It’s the ultimate test with fire engines weighing up to 60 tonnes driving over it. 
  20. We’ve signed up to buy the world’s first electric fire truck to operate at an airport.