Hamilton International Airport
- For the airport in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, see John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport.
|Hamilton International Airport|
|Operator||Hamilton International Airport|
|Location||Hamilton, New Zealand|
|Elevation AMSL||52 m / 172 ft|
The Hamilton International Airport (IATA: HLZ, ICAO: NZHN) is an airport located 14 kilometres south of the city of Hamilton in the Waikato region, in New Zealand. It is sited at Rukuhia, which was the name of the Royal New Zealand Air Force base on that site during World War II. In the year to 30 June 2011 the airport had 316,000 domestic and 46,000 international passengers.
As the world prepared for war, it became clear that a landing strip needed to be constructed in the Hamilton area. By 1935, the air strip was already in service, as a stopover for military aircraft that would land after a long journey. Services provided refueling as well as food and rest for the incoming pilots.
Travel by air began to blossom soon after the war was over, and, in 1950, the airport received its first commercial flight. The main runway was sealed in 1965, and turboprop flights began to Hamilton that year, with NAC's Fokker Friendship aircraft operating. The runway was further lengthened to accommodate Vickers Viscount, 1970, and ultimately Boeing 737 aircraft types in 1975.
In 1989, the New Zealand government sold the airport to councils representing Hamilton city (50 percent), Waikato district (15.625 percent), Waipa district (15.625 percent), Matamata-Piako district (15.625 percent) and Otorohonga district (3.125 percent). This development led to unprecedented growth for the airport.
Ansett built an independent passenger terminal to the south of the main building, equipping it with a 'Golden Wing Club' lounge and food vending machines. The airline's Ansett NZ division operated flights to Wellington from Hamilton from 1995 until 2000, when Ansett NZ was sold to a New Zealand business consortium and rebranded Qantas NZ, with their own New Zealand domestic flights division. Qantas NZ operated at the airport until 2001, when it went into receivership. The terminal was then occupied by Origin Pacific airlines. This airline operated domestic services until it too went bankrupt in 2004. The small terminal was then left unused.
In 1998, Hamilton Airport Motor Inn was developed to cater for travellers using the airport.
A NZ$15.3 million terminal expansion begun in 2005 featured a 60 percent increase in floorspace with improved baggage handling areas, better international and domestic check-in space, and passenger security screening. It was completed in late 2007.
Hugh McCarroll was the airport's chief executive from the early 2000s until retirement in February 2006. The current chief executive is Chris Doak, formerly growth and development general manager for electricity utilities company WEL Networks.
Trans Tasman services
In 1994, the airport became a terminal for Trans Tasman air routes, with charter flights provided on Boeing 727s by Kiwi International Airlines of New Zealand (not to be confused with the United States-based Kiwi International Air Lines) which served Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. New Zealand's Kiwi went bankrupt in 1996, but by that time Freedom Air had begun flying the same route with Boeing 737 aircraft. They also, briefly, operated flights to Nadi, Fiji, in 2005. Freedom Air ultimately decided to make Hamilton International Airport their company hub until parent company Air New Zealand closed the airline down on 30 March 2008 operating its own full service instead. By then, the Airbus A320 was being operated. When passenger numbers dropped to an unsustainable level in August 2010, Air New Zealand ceased services to Australia. Virgin Australia attempted to fill the need for a trans Tasman service later that year with twice-weekly Boeing 737-800 flights to Brisbane; however, passenger numbers remained low and Virgin Australia ended flights on 27 October 2012.
Hamilton Airport is home to the New Zealand Training Centre of CTC Aviation. CTC is a British flight training organisation that provides freshly trained airline pilots to numerous airlines throughout the world, mainly within the United Kingdom, most notably EasyJet, and also including British Airways, Qatar, Flybe, Thomson, Thomas Cook, and Monarch Airlines amongst others. Most of the non-passenger traffic at this airport is generated by CTC training flights, in single-engined Diamond DA20 and Cessna 172, and twin-engined Diamond DA42 Twin Star aircraft.
The Waikato Aero Club has been based at Hamilton Airport since 1933. The club provides a full range of flight training from recreational flying in Light Sport Aircraft through to commercial Multi-Engine IFR.
The airport currently accommodates many different types of aircraft, from piston-engined light aircraft to commercial turboprop aircraft such as the ATR 72. The airport can handle all light business jets as well as 40-80 seat regional jets such as the Embraer E195 and Bombardier CRJ200. Several airliners can operate from the airport including the 100-200 seat Boeing 737, Boeing 757 and Airbus A320. The largest aircraft authorised to land at Hamilton are the 150-250 seat Boeing 767 and Airbus A300. Plans to increase runway length from 2195m to 3000m to attract larger aircraft and start Asian regional flights, have been considered.
The airport operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In August 2011, approval was received by Hamilton International Airport to extend its runway up to 3,000 metres - the same size as secondary airports in other parts of the world, such as the Gold Coast. It will finish before 15 years approval end.
The airport has a single terminal building and 6 tarmac gates.
Airlines and destinations
|Air New Zealand Link operated by Air Nelson||Christchurch, Wellington|
|Air New Zealand Link operated by Eagle Airways||Auckland (ends 7 February 2016), Palmerston North, Wellington (ends 20 March 2016)|
|Air New Zealand Link operated by Mount Cook Airline||Christchurch, Palmerston North, Wellington|
|Sunair||Claris, Gisborne, Napier, New Plymouth, Whakatane, Whitianga|
- List of airports in New Zealand
- List of airlines of New Zealand
- Transport in New Zealand
- List of busiest airports in New Zealand
- "Waikato plans flights to Asia". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
- "Hamilton Airport to extend its runway". The New Zealand Herald. 12 August 2011.