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Airport true to ethos of Peoples’ Republic of Christchurch

  • May 20th, 2013

I've managed a backpackers. I know what travellers want. I know how to make money providing the cheapest (safe) accomodation travellers can find. I filled my backpackers in St Anton am Arlberg by greeting them at the Bahnhof (railway station).

I've slept at airports. I will probably do so again. Partly because it sticks in the craw to pay $150 +  for a few hours in a hotel room (after the taxi, check in, check out and taxi back) when all I want is somewhere safe to stretch out. There are other reasons of course – you may want to stay ready for the first standby seat, or not remove your luggage from custody, or you feel safer in the airport than heading into a city you do not know.

But I'm not surprised by Christchurch airport's snottiness to customers who want to sleep until  their flight (or their tour pick-up). Instead of seeng demand as opportunity, and customers as guests, they display the snobby disdain to be expected of a "socially owned" local monopoly.

The grudging reversal of policy shows the imagination one can expect from this town of state dependents. A nearby backpackers with a captive market is a feeble answer. Why not provide Japanese style boxes for safe sleeping? What about showing the Interislander's initiative on late night sailings in renting thin self inflating mattresses, and pointing to safe corners? Why not provide a service for a change, to make some money?

Instead of complaining that some people stay up to 11 nights, what's wrong with a one or two night limit to exclude indigents? What about applying a smell test – say plainly that if people smell they will be discreetly invited to pay for a shower and if they don't pay, they can go?

Wellington Airport is not socially owned.  I've enjoyed its willingness to tweak the noses of the dreary people who usually wield collective power to suck the vibrancy out of any business they control. But its culture may not be different enough in the long run. Perhaps airports are corrupted by living off rents, and  tolls from those obliged to pass through them. They get accustomed to fat returns from charges to taxis and other users for the privilege of actually providing services.

Wellington Airport is stacking up local hostility by not progressing an extension to the runway for a city anxious about its future.

When airports are subjected to Commerce Commission price control they will all have themselves to blame.


  • Mike Mckee
  • May 20th, 2013
  • 11:36 am

Wellington Airport is stacking up hostility by not giving us back the road we gave them so we can made it two way again, instead of charging residents for driving through the route we gave them in the first place.
I might not that ALL our councillors and Mayor are AWOL on this.


On the other hand Mike, our airport is not as hard-nosed to people caught overnight.

They say: The Wellington Airport terminal closes after the last international flight at 1:30am and opens at 3:30am. However, there are many circumstances where we allow passengers to stay in the terminal. We take their contact details, let them know of the emergency and safety procedures and provide them with an area where they can rest. This area is located in the main terminal building, near international departures. Where there is a large number of displaced passengers, the airport and airlines work together to ensure the passengers are looked after.

The had 80 passengers staying overnight last Wednesday due to fog. They’ve distributed water, lollies and blankets and helped people finding a decent spot in the terminal to overnight. Parents with kids are taken to the parents room and in some instances to one of their meeting rooms. They sometimes keep on extra staff on to make sure everyone is looked after during the night.

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