6 Oct 2016

Backpackers to be popped in pods to solve airport woes

9:04 pm on 6 October 2016

A new pod-styled backpackers at Christchurch Airport - the first of its kind in the country - is designed to deal with a shortage of budget sleeping options for tourists.

Up to 70 percent of budget accommodation providers were lost as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes and the shortage of sleeping options has meant the airport has dealt with growing numbers of tourists sleeping in the terminals.

Airport security and cleaning bills have increased as a result, but the launch of the micro accommodation concept near the airport today was expected to ease pressure and give travellers on all budgets more options.

The Jucy Snooze backpackers has 271 beds in total - 144 of those are pods stacked two high, in rooms of eight.

The self-contained pods feature beds, storage lockers, a power supply and WiFi connectivity, for $39 a night, or $10 an hour for a two-to-four hour nap between flights.

Jucy chief executive Tim Alpe said tourists desperately needed an affordable place to stay, other than the airport floor.

"A lot of them are our customers, who are hiring our cars and campervans, so we would come to the office in the morning and there would be 50 people who had spent the night in the terminal.

"To be able to now provide affordable accommodation, right on the airport, is great for people who are either coming in late at night or early in the morning," Mr Alpe said.

Mr Alpe said there were already more than 600 bookings for the backpackers, which did not officially open until 1 November.

Christchurch International Airport is the landlord and spokesman Justin Watson said the pods would fill a gap in the market.

"The city after the earthquake lost a lot of its accommodation, especially in the backpacker area.

"This provides a new affordable option for them, so we're hoping that a lot of the passengers that may have slept in the airport, will seek to use this."

Prime Minister John Key launched the premise today, saying he hoped the accommodation would make tourists think twice about hitting the road after a long flight.

New Zealand Transport Agency figures show fatigue was a factor in 106 crashes in 2014.

"We actually want people to be safe, so if they get off an international flight and it's night time, rather than maybe getting in the campervan and driving somewhere - coming here to sleep and picking up the campervan the next day, is a pretty logical thing to do because you don't want someone's great New Zealand holiday ending in tragedy because they drive themselves off the road."

Mr Alpe said construction would begin shortly on a five-storey Jucy Snooze in Queenstown, with plans to roll the concept out in other locations across New Zealand and Australia.