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Auckland Transport

Airport and Mangere rail Airport and Mangere rail

Auckland Transport (AT) is committed to providing rail access to Mangere and the airport area. The project is focused on planning for and protecting the future rail route.

Project status: Investigation
Project zone: South-East

Project overview

The rail investigations are part of a joint AT and NZ Transport Agency integrated transport scheme for State Highway 20A (southwestern motorway) to improve access to the airport and surrounding employment area. This includes designing and building the new SH20A Kirkbride interchange to allow future rail.

Rail has been identified as the best long-term option for improving public transport in the area. It would provide improved public transport access to jobs in the airport area and for people living in Mangere.

The area is already one of Auckland’s largest employment centres, with about 33,000 jobs. It's expected to be one of Auckland’s fastest growing employment areas, with jobs increasing to 90,000 and GDP to $5.5 billion by 2044.

About 71,000 people live in the area around the airport and Auckland Airport passengers are expected to double to 24 million a year by 2025.

A rail link would provide more reliable journeys, helping to increase the use of public transport by workers and travellers.

The above video provides an overview of the light rail option. Costs and travel times will continue to be refined.


  • Potential to increase the area’s economic growth.
  • Provide improved public transport access to jobs in one of Auckland’s largest and fastest growing employment areas.
  • Provide an attractive transport option for the Mangere community to increase public transport use.
  • Provide a reliable and high-capacity connection between the city centre, Mangere, the airport and its employment area.


2015 - Protect route through Kirkbride/SH20A interchange; develop business case to determine if light or heavy rail is the preferred option.
2016 - Complete business case on light rail and heavy rail options for rail to Mangere and the airport.
2016 - Develop bus option to compare with light rail.

Project details

Business case

AT has developed a business case considering both heavy and light rail route options for rail to Mangere and the airport employment area to allow a single journey (without transfers) between the city centre and the airport.

The business case includes their differing benefits, costs and potential impacts on property, and requirements in the motorway corridor in addition to the Kirkbride/SH20A Interchange, which has been future-proofed for either light or heavy rail.

The heavy rail option included double tracking the Onehunga branch line and extending rail to Mangere Bridge, Mangere and the airport.

The light rail option would see the extension of a light rail transit (LRT) route via Queen Street and Dominion Road (currently being investigated) to Onehunga, Mangere Bridge, Mangere and the airport.

In June 2016, the Auckland Transport Board considered the business case and ruled out the option of heavy rail to the airport due to poor value for money.

We will now develop a rapid transit option using buses to compare value for money to the light rail option.

The Auckland Council's Long-term Plan includes an approximate $21 million contribution towards the cost of designing and building the new SH20A Kirkbride interchange for future rail and $12.6 million for further route protection.

Business case documents

Travel time estimates for common journeys

Based on latest travel-time modelling.

Britomart (downtown) to airport:

  • Light rail: 44 minutes.
  • Heavy rail: 39 minutes.

Aotea (new City Rail Link station) to airport:

  • Light rail: 41 minutes.
  • Heavy rail: 41 minutes.

Cost estimates

  • Light rail: $1 billion (approx).
  • Heavy rail: $2.2 billion (approx).

Key facts about the Mangere/airport area

  • One of Auckland’s largest employment areas, with about 33,000 jobs and $3.5 billion GDP.
  • Predicted to be one of Auckland’s fastest growing employment areas, with 90,000 jobs and $5.5 GDP by 2044.
  • About 71,000 people live in the residential areas around the airport employment zone.
  • 90% of Mangere residents rely on a car to get to work vs regional average of 82%.
  • Only 2% of airport employees and 7% of passengers use public transport.
  • Auckland Airport passengers expected to double to 24 million a year by 2025 and 40 per million a year by 2044.
  • 85,00 vehicles a day enter or exit the airport district via SH20A and SH20B, expected to more than double to 174,000 a day by 2044.
  • Two bus services currently serve the employment area and airport.
  • Bus reliability would reduce over time, and add to city centre bus congestion.

For more information about this project

Contact Auckland Transport