Several flights rescheduled for the same time will cause a "4
o'clock swell" at Dunedin International Airport, so
travellers are advised to check in early on summer
Airport operations manager Richard Roberts said rescheduled
international and domestic flights would put extra pressure
on services and space in the airport at 4pm, which he
referred to as "the 4 o'clock swell".
The airport terminal was designed to handle 320 people an
hour, but from next Thursday more than 505 were expected at
4pm, he said.
The pressure would continue as an extra flight from Brisbane
arrived and four domestic flights remained scheduled to
arrive within 25 minutes of each other, he said.
The number of flights was the same as last year but the
schedules had been aligned, he said.
The passenger swell would occur six days a week but the most
pressure would be on Thursdays and Sundays, he said.
Airport chief executive John McCall said flight scheduling
was a huge logistical exercise and flight schedules were
difficult to change.
The airport terminal capacity of 320 people could be exceeded
but then the service level would deteriorate, he said.
Terminal expansion was not economically feasible to meet the
extra demand for just one hour a day , he said.
"It would cost millions of dollars ... it's a balancing act
between putting in capital and getting productive use out."
However, some existing airport staff would be given extra
hours of work to cope with demand, he said.
He recommended outbound passengers check in earlier than
their airline recommended to ensure they got through security
screening in time.
"You should not leave it to the last minute because there
will be more people."
Airport cafes would be under more pressure but would cope, he
The extra pressure on car parking would be alleviated by the
installation of automatic pay stations inside the terminal so
people could pay for car parking before they left the
terminal, he said.
More car park exits would make exiting easier, he said.
If the conference rooms were not in use during the busy
period, passengers could sit there, he said.
Each airline had scheduled its flights to meet its own needs
and the airport had to respond and deliver services to meet
those needs, he said.
"With extra resources and with public awareness and
understanding, the airport will effectively manage the ebb
and flow of the 4 o'clock swell."