|IATA: IVC – ICAO: NZNV|
|Operator||Invercargill Airport Ltd|
|Elevation AMSL||5 ft / 2 m|
Invercargill Airport (IATA: IVC, ICAO: NZNV) is a controlled aerodrome located one mile west of the city centre of Invercargill at the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand. It is the southernmost controlled airport in the British Commonwealth. Formed on land reclaimed from the Waihopai/New River Estuary in 1938, the airport was prone to flooding, especially in 1984 when it was inoperable for two months. The Invercargill City Council considered moving the airport back to Dawson Farm, Myross Bush, the original site up to 1942. Instead, a large flood protection scheme was built, but during its construction heavy rain and an unusually high tidal surge flooded it again in 1987. There have been no problems since. The airport has a single terminal and 4 tarmac gates.
The site of today's airport is located on what was a tidal estuary lake. It was chosen as a closer to town facility than the then current leased land aerodrome, Dawson Farm, located a then considerable 10 km away northeast of Invercargill. This was to allow the southern city a better airline gateway. The draining and stabilising of land began in 1936. It took until 1939 before a rudimentary landing strip was considered acceptable for light aircraft to land. By then World War Two had begun and the RNZAF used it as a back-up auxiliary field while Dawson Farm remained the air force's aerodrome of choice as heavier patrol bombers could land there. The continual draining of the surrounding land was (and still is) achieved with the use of a large canal and tidal pumping system. In summer months the area is below mean sea level. The city council built two hangars and the air force a larger facility. Pre-fabricated office blocks provided basic administration facilities.
The airport's first scheduled service was in 1944 by Union Airways' Lockheed 10 Electra flying from Dunedin. The terminal facilities were little more than two small sheds as at the time and a Union Airways limousine bus service provided passengers a direct link to the downtown terminal located on The Crescent.
When the Government nationalized all airlines creating NAC in 1947, this was changed to a de Havilland Dominie as the new international standards for airports were enforced at the same time. This also allowed two same day return services to Dunedin's Tairei airport which was at the time the southern terminal of the NAC main trunk route operating Douglas DC-3 airliners. Once the new paved runway was created in 1956 along with a new substantial but temporary terminal, Douglas DC-3s began operating giving Southlanders a far better standard of services. Meanwhile a local airline, Amphibian Airways had started the Stewart Island route in the early 1950s, using Grumman Widgeon ZK-AVM and ZK-BAY, in their distinctive yellow and blue liveries. The amphibians also serviced isolated coastal lighthouses and their settlements. Stewart Island Air Services took over in the late 1970s, and was then taken over by Southern Air in 1981, who still provide the air service to Stewart Island Stewart Island Flights. Mainland Air of Dunedin provide a weekly charter/pre-booked service for the Southern District Health Board, transporting doctors and surgeons from Dunedin-Invercargill return.
In 2013, a new terminal building will be constructed and will cost $13.3 million, with construction funded by Invercargill City Holdings Ltd. The building would be single storey and built on the existing site of the current airport. It would be build in three stages over approximately 20 months. The current terminal is nearly 50 years old.
The runway was lengthened periodically over the years to cater for larger aircraft in time, such as NAC Fokker F27s (1961), NAC Vickers Viscount (1969), culminating with NAC's Boeing 737-200 type in 1975. Other aircraft such as RNZAF Boeing 727-100 and Ansett New Zealand BAe 146s have used the runway with ease.
The passenger terminal facilities have developed around a striking permanent 'Festival of Britain' two-level structure built in 1963, which features a distinctive lozenge-shaped roof and fully glazed airside walls giving great views of the runway from the upper deck. A ground level outdoor viewing gallery allowed passengers and wellwishers to mingle. (This area has since been closed to all but passengers). This was built against the original small 1956 built 'temporary' terminal which was turned into the freight and baggage area. The small control tower in the original structure became a convenient skylight upon the completion of a standard NZCAA five story 'flowerpot' control tower in 1962. A jetway was added by Air New Zealand in 1988 to ease passenger comfort during inclement weather. Although spacious at the time, the terminal is now considered to be too small for the intensive frequency of services now in use. Free WiFi, Cafe/Bar, ATM, Accommodation/Destination and Rental Car facilities are provided. Air New Zealand's, Koru Lounge is located on the second floor.
Small is more
Regular jet services operated into the airport until 1995, when Air New Zealand restructured all its secondary provincial routes after subsidiary Mount Cook Airline introduced the 68 seat ATR 72-200 into service. Though a turboprop aircraft similar in size to the Viscount, it allowed a higher frequency of departure choices up to eight every weekday including late evenings. The larger-capacity 737s were restricted to three departures a day (including a short morning flight to Dunedin and onto Wellington) with the last flight out at 1630hrs. Air New Zealand resisted local pressure of removing the jets convincing Southlanders that the smaller ATR (and later, Q300) aircraft would allow for a higher frequency of service for minimal time difference. When fellow subsidiary Air Nelson joined the Invercargill route with the 50 seat Q300 (an aircraft the size of a Fokker F27-500), this allowed a new non stop route to Wellington giving Southlanders direct access to the nation's capital. Eagle Airways did operate a Saturday CHC - IVC - CHC with the B1900D however this was short lived & only lasted 6 months during mid-2003 as it was found that a larger aircraft was soon needed. Origin Pacific also operated into IVC utilising the Metro, J31 & J41 since Origin ceased operations this caused Air NZ to increase its frequency & now up to Ten daily departure choices are now available. Proving Air New Zealand's assumation that 'Small is More'.
Regular types using the airport now are, ATR 72, and Dash 8 Q-300. On rare occasions Boeing 737's are diverted due inclement weather in Queenstown or Dunedin and for charter flights and sports events.
Air New Zealand is the major carrier operating from the airport. Subsidiaries Air Nelson and Mount Cook Airline operate Bombardier Q300 and ATR-72 types, respectively. Air Nelson has a small maintenance base to service Q300 and ATR-72s as up to three aircraft are stabled overnight.
A fully covered baggage carousel was commissioned in 2001. Air New Zealand and Invercargill Airport Ltd shared the cost of refurbishing the Jetway in 2008; this can be used on all of its fleet from the ATRs to Boeing 737s.
In 2005, the runway was extended to 2,210 m at a cost of NZ$5 million, as of 2012[update] it is the third longest civilian runway in New Zealand, capable of handling aircraft of Boeing 737/Airbus A320 type sized aircraft. The airport has adopted a masterplan to cater for diversions. The terminal apron and gates can permanently sustain aircraft no larger than an Airbus A320 (although baggage container handling equipment is unavailable for this type). RNZAF C-130, Boeing 757-200 and USAF C17 Globemaster transports are occasional visitors. The apron is marked out as a turn in, turn out but a towing tractor is available for push-back operations. The airport is currently in the planning process of a long term $5.5 m facelift; the construction of an arterial road and a covered walkway to the terminal has been completed. The enlargement of the terminal building to provide fully integrated security jet air service standards is planned for development by 2015. Runway resurfacing with a fresh top of asphalt over its older sections in 2011 has helped to increase weight limits for aircraft usage.
International Technical Stopover
Invercargill Airport has had aspirations from the 1980s through to the 2000s as an international destination with proposals that have failed to get off the ground with nearby Queenstown being developed as a more direct route for jet aircraft. But is now used as the fill up point for international services thanks to its longer runway.
Since July 2012, Air New Zealand has used Invercargill as a technical stop when conditions in Queenstown restrict aircraft from taking off with sufficient fuel to fly direct to Australia due to weather or operational reasons (high payload). In the past they have been routed through Christchurch, adding two hours to the journey, but with going through Invercargill, they save one hour. As this is a Technical stopover passengers are not able to leave the aircraft. During 2012, only two A320's were routed through Invercargill.
Invercargill does not have the appropriate border control measures. Customs Officers from the nearby Port of Bluff provide official security services when aircraft are uplifting fuel. Virgin Australia and Qantas are also looking to Invercargill as a standby technical stopping point for it's Queenstown service to Australia, once again due to the benefit of the airport's longer runway.
Minor Military and Antarctic operations role
Although only ever a backup airport during World War II, military operations have remained rare due to Christchurch being chosen as the main Operation Deep Freeze Base in 1949 and what was then Dunedin's Taieri Aerodrome acting as a departure point for shorter range aircraft heading south. The occasional Antarctic flight did land at Invercargill if Taieri was closed. JATO power was needed to assist heavily laden aircraft off the ground. The noise from JATO-powered take-offs, usually in the small hours, could be heard quite some distance away in Otatara.
Today the airport is visited by aircraft of the United States ANG, Australian RAAF, Italy's Aeronautica Militare and RNZAF as part of Antarctic flight diversion training. The RNZAF has used the airfield area for their Wise Owl week long exercises at least twice a decade.
Scheduled and Regular Charter Routes
|Air New Zealand Link operated by Air Nelson||Christchurch, Wellington|
|Air New Zealand Link operated by Mount Cook Airline||Christchurch|
|Mainland Air||Charter: Dunedin (Medical only)|
|Stewart Island Flights||Stewart Island|
Developing new services
- Air New Zealand regional airlines division spokesman Bruce Parton said the company increased seat capacity into and out of Invercargill by 30% during the past two years (at 2010) and now offered 52 services a week between Invercargill and Christchurch and 29 services a week between Invercargill and Wellington.
- Other Air New Zealand proposals include adding a Queenstown en-route stop on a morning and afternoon service. This is to allow ease of access for tourists wishing to visit Stewart Island etc.
- VOR/DME 116.8 NV
- 04/22 LIL ALS, REIL, PAPI 3 degrees,
- Taxiway edge
- Apron edge and flood
- Standby power available
- Towing tractor/pushback capable
- Limited repairs
- RFS CAT 4 or 5
- Avgas: BP and Mobil. Jet A1 Mobil.
- 24 Hours operation.
- General Manager: Chloe Scala.
The aerodrome is operated by Invercargill Airport Ltd, <a href="tel:+6432140571">+6432140571</a> and is available for general use without the permission of the operator.
- List of airports in New Zealand
- List of airlines of New Zealand
- Transport in New Zealand
- List of busiest airports in New Zealand
- Poole, Michele (26 July 2013). "Could a flood this bad happen again?". The Southland Times. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- "New terminal building for Invercargill Airport". Invercargill City Council. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
- Invercargill Airport Limited
- Invercargill City Council|Southland Times
- Invercargill Airport Ltd|website
- Cowlishaw, Shane (26 July 2013). "$5.5m facelift unveiled for Invercargill Airport". The Southland Times. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- Harding, Evan (17 May 2012). "International at last". Southland Times. Fairfax. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
- Southern DC3 Oddisey, 1996 | Christchurch Antractic Centre | Southland Museum
- Invercargill City Council/Library Archives
- Aviation News April 2010, Southland Times March 2010
- ICC and Invercargill Airport Ltd development plan, 2012-14