Home Airport Spotting Guide Airports in New Zealand

Airports in New Zealand

by Matt Falcus
Air New Zealand 767-300

New Zealand is split into two main islands, with a number of airports on each, providing domestic and international air links. It also includes the remote Chatham Islands.

Airports in New Zealand Map

Main Airports

Auckland International

North Island
Hub For: Air New Zealand/Air New Zealand Link, Jetstar Airways, Virgin Australia
Other Airlines: Air Chathams, Air Tahiti Nui, Air Vanuatu, AirAsia X, Aircalin, American Airlines, Barrier Air, Cathay Pacifc, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Korean Air, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Thai, United Airlines.
Cargo: Airfreight NZ, Airwork, FedEx Express, Qantas Freight, Singapore Airlines Cargo
The principal gateway to New Zealand. Auckland has one main runway (with a parallel taxiway used as a backup runway), two terminals and handles around 18 million passengers per year. It is also a busy freight hub. Many Asian and Australian airlines fly in on a regular basis, with long-haul links to South America and the Middle East also handled. Spotters can make use of viewing areas in the terminals, or a special car park to the north east of the airport.

Christchurch International

South Island
Hub For: Air New Zealand/Air New Zealand Link
Other Airlines: Air Chathams, China Airlines, China Southern, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Jetstar Airways, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia
Cargo: Airfreight NZ, Airwork, Qantas Freight
The busiest airport on the South Island, and the second busiest in New Zealand. It has two runways, and a single terminal which was recently upgraded. Most flights are domestic and trans-Tasman, however long haul links are handled from China, Dubai and Singapore.

Wellington International

North Island
Hub For: Air New Zealand/Air New Zealand Link
Other Airlines: Air Chathams, Fiji Airways, Jetstar Airways, Qantas/Jetconnect, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia
Cargo: Airwork
Known for its strong winds, Wellington handles around 5 million passengers per year, particularly on domestic and trans-Tasman services. It is also a busy hub for general aviation and sightseeing flights. Wellington has a single runway.


Air New Zealand 767-300

By Simon_sees from Australia (Air NZ 767 ZK-NCJ) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Other Airports

Auckland Ardmore Airport

Airlines: Sunair
Ardmore is only a few miles from Auckland city. It is a historic airport built for World War II and also used as the New Zealand Grand Prix circuit in the past! Today it is New Zealand’s busiest general aviation airport, and hosts lots of charter and tourist sightseeing flights. You’ll also want to visit the New Zealand Warbirds Association which is based here and has many classic aircraft both on display and in flying condition.

[Around Auckland – Spotting Attractions]

Blenheim Woodbourne Airport

South Island
Airlines: Air New Zealand Link, Air2there
Cargo: Airwork
A RNZAF training and maintenance base which also has commuter airline and cargo links. The passenger terminal was recently renovated and expanded.

Chatham Islands / Tuuta Airport

Chatham Islands
Airlines: Air Chathams
A great place to visit out in the Pacific, and home to Air Chathams which still operates the classic Convair 580 on passenger services to various airports in New Zealand. It also operates inter-island and tourist charters with some other classic aircraft.


South Island
Airlines: Air New Zealand/Air New Zealand Link, Jetstar Airways, Kiwi Regional Airlines, Virgin Australia
Cargo: Airwork
The fifth busiest airport in the country, with a decent size runway and terminal, and some international flights. Local carrier Mainland Air is based here.


North Island
Airlines: Air New Zealand Link, Barrier Air, Kiwi Regional Airlines
A decent sized airport which in the past has offered various international links to Australia, but could not sustain them due to its proximity to Auckland. Today only regional flights link different cities around the country, and a lot of pilot training activity takes place.

Hawke’s Bay Airport (Hastings/Napier)

North Island
Airlines: Air New Zealand Link, Jetstar Airways
Cargo: Air Napier
A busy regional airport with lots of domestic links and a nice terminal with an open-air observation deck.


South Island
Airlines: Air New Zealand Link, Stewart Island Flights
Cargo: Air Post
A local airport which sees regional aircraft operating domestic flights, and local sightseeing flying. Invercargill often acts as a diversion airport for Queenstown when the weather closes in.


South Island
Hub For: Air New Zealand Link
Airlines: Air New Zealand, Jetstar Airways, Kiwi Regional Airlines
The country’s sixth busiest airport. Nelson, at the top of the South Island, handles domestic and occasional international flights, and some cargo flights. It is home to Air Nelson, which operates under the Air New Zealand Link banner with DHC-8-300 aircraft.

New Plymouth

North Island
Airlines: Air New Zealand Link, Jetstar Airways
A small regional airport serving domestic airlines and tourist flights.

Palmerston North

North Island
Airlines: Air New Zealand Link, Jetstar Airways
A regional airport handling domestic flights. It has plans for growth and already features a decent terminal. Often aircraft will divert here from Wellington in bad weather.


South Island
Airlines: Air New Zealand/Air New Zealand Link, Jetstar, Qantas/Jetconnect, Virgin Australia
A busy tourist airport in the heart of the city, with domestic and international links, and aircraft up to A320/B737 size on a regular basis. Many smaller aircraft also use the airport on a daily basis carrying sightseeing passengers on local flights.

Rotorua Regional

North Island
Airlines: Air New Zealand Link
A regional airport with international ambitions. It did have a Sydney service recently, and hopes to get it back in the near future.

Tauranga Airport

North Island
Airlines: Air New Zealand Link, Barrier Air, Kiwi Regional Airlines
A busy hub of domestic, sightseeing and training/skydiving flights. It is the fifth busiest in the country in terms of aircraft movements, and hosts an annual air show.

Air New Zealand Link Mount Cook

Other Information

Spotting in New Zealand

Spotting is accepted in New Zealand and photographing airliners from public places and official viewing areas is permitted. Remember to observe local laws and avoid breaching security at airports.

Public Transport

Getting around on public transport is easy in New Zealand. Most cities have bus systems linking with the local airport and this can allow you to explore further. The metro rail systems in Auckland and Wellington do not connect to the airports, but dedicated express bus services do run regularly.


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Clive Adlam July 25, 2016 - 11:35 pm

Hi Matt,
Thanks for starting this blog. What a brilliant article and very user friendly and accurate. I shall be contributing more this coming summer when I get back from the UK in mid October.
Kind regards,

Matt Falcus July 26, 2016 - 9:10 am

Thanks Clive. Your contributions are very much appreciated and welcome!

Seasider August 3, 2016 - 10:39 am

I am travelling to NZ this November on a family holiday and this guide will be very useful for my “free time”.

Matt Falcus August 3, 2016 - 10:47 am

Glad you found it useful! We’ll be posting a guide to some of the smaller New Zealand airfields this week too!

Guide to Spotting in New Zealand - Airport Spotting Blog August 11, 2016 - 12:05 pm

[…] our recent posts about the airports in New Zealand, and a photographic snapshot of Auckland Airport, Mark Mabey has contributed this guide to spotting […]

Graham Haxell November 2, 2018 - 3:22 pm

Hi there Matt. Please check your info regarding Auckland Airport, it has one runway and one taxiway which of course are parallel. Not sure that Christchurch has two runways either.

Matt Falcus November 3, 2018 - 4:26 pm

Hi Graham. Auckland’s parallel taxiway is a backup/secondary runway (kinda like at London Gatwick). Christchurch has runways 02/20 and 11/29.


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