Photo gallery: Auckland Airport becomes pitch perfect for football fans

Auckland Airport has been transformed into a football-themed venue — complete with pitch and grandstands — to welcome fans to the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

And to welcome overseas visitors to the tournament, a large welcome sign on the airport runway will display the simple message: ‘Game On!”

Auckland Airport Chief Customer Officer Scott Tasker said the airport wanted to give players and fans a warm Kiwi welcome to the host city and create a moment that resembles walking out of a player’s tunnel and onto the pitch.

‘Like coming out of the players’ tunnel …’ Photo credit: Auckland Airport.

“Welcoming sports heroes to Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is something we’ve been really looking forward to, so we’re showing our support for this global women’s sporting tournament by creating an arrivals experience like no other.

“We can’t wait to see the teams start to arrive from next week and the community enjoying the space.”

Kitted out with a 22 by 17 metre football field, people can get into the spirit of the event and welcome their favourite teams into the country.

Main photo: The football pitch in the main arrivals hall at Auckland International Airport. Photo credit: Auckland Airport.

In addition, a giant ‘Game On!’ welcome sign will be painted on the grass at the Eastern end of the runway. Spanning 80 by 40 metres, it will greet an estimated 80% of passengers as they prepare to land.

“Auckland Airport is the main gateway to New Zealand, and we have a unique opportunity to make a special first impression — Kiwi style,” Tasker said.

‘A real Kiwi welcome …’ Photo credit: Auckland Airport.

During July and August, Auckland Airport expects around 1.7 million people to fly domestically and 2.1 million to fly internationally — about 90% of airline seat capacity compared to July and August 2019.

“We’re seeing more travellers during the end of July and into August than on some of our busiest days during the school holidays. This will largely be due to the sporting events at this time of year, being the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 and the All Blacks playing in the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship and the Bledisloe Cup,” he said.

The ‘Game On!’ welcome message follows the success of the ‘Kia Ora’ runway sign in May 2022, which greeted travellers post-COVID when travel opened back up.

While waiting for their favourite team or player, or to welcome friends and loved ones in the international arrivals hall, people will be encouraged to “fly their flag”.

Using a dedicated tablet, airport visitors can select their favourite team flag as backdrop on an animated screen for their personalised photo.

‘Pick the team you’re going to support …’ Photo credit: Auckland Airport.

FIFA Women’s World Cup official mascot Tazuni will also be at the terminal at selected times.

Acknowledgement: This story and photographs have been provided by Auckland Airport.

  • Auckland Airport thanks Tātaki Auckland Unlimited – Host City for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ — for their support in creating these experiences. It is another example of the partnership between the two organisations.
A grandstand view for those waiting to welcome arrivals. Photo credit: Auckland Airport.

Meanwhile, in Wellington …

Wellington Airport has welcomed the FIFA Women’s World Cup with a giant football placed over the ‘O’ on Wellington’s iconic ‘blown away’ sign.

READ MORE: ‘O, how pleased we are to see you!’ — Wellington’s welcome for World Cup fans >>>>

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