About Rotorua Airport

Rotorua Airport is an important gateway to the Central North Island, providing direct flights daily to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Rotorua Airport began operating in 1964 as a joint venture between the Rotorua District Council and the Crown. The Crown sold its 50% share to a private company in 1987, with the Council buying those shares in 2003 and taking over full ownership of the Airport assets in 2004.

Today, Rotorua Airport operates as a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) with an independent board. The airport can cater for domestic jets, as well as trans-Tasman charter flights through a fully enabled MPI and Custom Clearance facility.

The airport has developed a Masterplan, to guide future growth aspirations.

About Rotorua Airport 

Our vision is to be a uniquely Rotorua hub our community can be proud of.

We have 5 key priorities:

  • Be a safe airport

  • Help the Council achieve its growth aspirations

  • Manage and maintain assets to a high standard

  • Be financially sustainable

  • Be environmentally conscious

Our commitment to sustainability

We’re privileged to be located on the shores of Lake Rotorua, and we take our commitment to sustainability and the environment seriously.

We are working alongside our key partners to ensure any work we carry out, both now and into the future, is undertaken in the most sustainable way possible.

Our commitment to protecting the environment and improving the quality of life for our community goes beyond just ensuring we meet the regulatory and operational requirements – we are taking a broader look at our responsibilities.

As part of this, we’ve stopped using fertiliser on airport land to prevent runoff into the lake. As an airport, we’re also looking at a wider sustainability plan which includes native tree planting and pest control, as well as ways to reduce our waste.

An Airport in Demand

For more than 50 years since opening in 1964, Rotorua Airport has been a gateway to the region with daily, direct services to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

The Airport has changed dramatically from the 1378m runway which was initially built to accommodate the aircraft of the time, including DC-3s and Fokker F27 planes to the current runway which can accommodate regular services, jets and international charter flights.

The number of passengers using Rotorua Airport is increasing and this year it will surpass 250,000 travellers. The increased demand, together with changing security regulations and the desire to create a facility Rotorua can be proud of, have driven the need to redevelop our terminal.

Our History

Air Scouts at opening of new Rotorua Airport 1964. Published in Rotorua Photo News, Oct 24th edition, Photographer Michael Burton.

Air Scouts at opening of new Rotorua Airport 1964. Published in Rotorua Photo News, Oct 24th edition, Photographer Michael Burton.

October 2, 1964
A crowd of about 10,000 turn out for the official opening of the airport by Prime minister Keith Holyoake

NAC starts flying into Rotorua Airport

Royal visit by Their Royal Highnesses Prince Charles and his sister Princess Anne, who were holidaying at Moose Lodge on Lake Rotoiti

Mount Cook Airlines, which had operated between Rotorua and Mt Cook, gets approval to fly between Rotorua and Auckland

Last DC3 flies into Rotorua

Extension to increase the terminal and two new aircraft parking pads

Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive in Rotorua on the VIP Friendship, accompanied by RNZAF Iroquois helicopters

Jean Batten visits Rotorua

Air Central Ltd begins flights between Rotorua and Napier and Rotorua and New Plymouth

Daughter of the skies - Jean Batten

Daughter of the skies - Jean Batten

New terminal commissioned

Terminal upgrade including increased aviation security finished

Southern terminal extension completed

Trans Tasman flights to Sydney begin from Rotorua Airport

11,000 turn out to 50th anniversary open day

Trans Tasman flights from Rotorua Airport finish

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive at Rotorua Airport as part of their Australasian tour

Rotorua Airport undergoes terminal upgrade underway to address seismic issues, and cater for increasing growth

Rotorua Airport celebrate 60 years of operations. 

Mana Whenua

Recognising the importance of Ngāti Uenukukopako as mana whenua, Rotorua Airport is committed to ensuring process are in place which respect this position, both today and into the future.

Significant work has gone on between the airport and Ngāti Uenukukopako representatives over the years to look at the ways we can better work together. As part of this, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to help cement this relationship.

Regular meetings are held between the airport and Ngāti Uenukukopako, providing a platform for issues and developments to be considered and ensuring strong communication between the two.

One of the highlights of the relationship is the annual Armistice Day ceremony, which is held on site at the Airport recognising the service of those who whakapapa to our area who fought in the wars.

Photo Credit: Ngati Uenukukopako Iwi Trust

Photo Credit: Ngati Uenukukopako Iwi Trust


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