Launching and welcoming new airlines

Auckland Airport is undergoing growth at a rapid pace and the Aeronautical Commercial team facilitated inaugural flight celebrations for three airlines in early December 2015. The timing of consecutive launches coincided with Auckland Airport’s peak season passenger movements, causing an increase in workload during an already busy period.


Anthem, having completed airline projects of a similar nature previously, assisted the internal team to project manage flight arrival and departure ceremonies for Air China, Philippine Airlines and Jetstar across a three week period. The opening of these new air routes contributes significant tourism, trade and commercial benefits to New Zealand and special celebrations welcome the first time arrival of aircraft at Auckland Airport.


The projects involved working with a number of internal Auckland Airport stakeholders and joint border agencies to ensure a seamless and welcoming experience for VIP delegations. Dignitary and media management was coordinated alongside comprehensive airline and staff briefings, including walk throughs of terminal celebrations for individual groups.

Official welcomes for arriving delegations was typified by water arch cannons on the tarmac, rousing kapa haka performances and Kaumatua blessings, ribbon cutting, photo opportunities plus words from Ministers, Ambassadors and chief executives. Special mention must go to the Philippine Airlines team which treated its departing passengers with cake and refreshments before its first flight bound for Manila via Cairns – a well-received surprise!

While hugely challenging operationally, the airline inaugural flight celebrations were rewarding and undoubtedly afforded the airlines a very warm welcome from Auckland Airport. Along with project management, intercultural communication principles were well honed and Anthem was delighted to be part of these significant aero milestones.


Jane Carruthers, Auckland Airport’s marketing manager, says she’s delighted with the way the first flight celebrations came to fruition.


“This was an incredibly busy time for us and we’re really proud to welcome these airlines which provide even more options for travellers,” Jane says. “It’s quite staggering the level of organisation required to see the successful running of these events and we partnered well to deliver successful celebrations for three happy airlines.”