Rotorua International Airport

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Rotorua International Airport
Rotorua Airport, New Zealand, 26 October 2005.jpg
A Boeing 737-300 of the now defunct Freedom Air taxis along Runway 36L on 26 October 2005
Airport type Public
Operator Rotorua International Airport Limited
Serves Rotorua and inland Bay of Plenty
Location Rotokawa, Rotorua, New Zealand
Elevation AMSL 285 m / 936 ft
Coordinates 38°06′33″S 176°19′02″E / 38.10917°S 176.31722°E / -38.10917; 176.31722Coordinates: 38°06′33″S 176°19′02″E / 38.10917°S 176.31722°E / -38.10917; 176.31722
ROT is located in North Island
Location of airport in North Island
Direction Length Surface
m ft
18R/36L 1,762 5,781 Asphalt
18L/36R 773 2,536 Grass
Statistics (2011)
Passengers 227,578

Rotorua International Airport is an airport in Rotorua, New Zealand (IATA: ROTICAO: NZRO). It originally opened in 1963, with a 1378m x 30m sealed runway so that it could accommodate National Airways Corporation's Douglas DC-3 and Fokker F27 aircraft, replacing the old Whakarewarewa Aerodrome. The old Aerodrome was just north of Sala Street and is now a suburban area.

Today it has more frequent operations, being by Air New Zealand and its regional subsidiaries. The busiest route is from Rotorua to Christchurch which is operated by Mount Cook Airlines using ATR 72-500 aircraft. Sometimes an Air New Zealand Boeing 737-300 operates these flights. Currently the largest aircraft servicing the airport are Air New Zealand's Airbus A320s which operate on the Rotorua to Sydney route. The terminal is a single building with six tarmac gates.


An Air New Zealand aircraft parked at Rotorua.

Rotorua has two runways. The main runway is the sealed 18R/36L. There is also a much shorter parallel grass runway, 18L/36R.[2] In 2002, the airport's asphalt runway was extended to 1622m.[citation needed] Plans to increase the main runway's length in two stages, initially by 150 metres at the northern end followed by 487 metres at the southern end (including newly-mandated overrun areas), were approved in 2008 after a lengthy consultation process and court battle.[3][4][5][6][7] The initial increase in length would allow operations by Airbus A320 aircraft to Australia, albeit with capacity restrictions, while the southern extension would allow full-capacity flights by these aircraft.[8]

Construction began in 2008.[9] Construction was completed in 2009, extending the runway to 1,762 metres in length.[2] The total length of the runway and the overrun areas is now 2,304 metres.[2] The runway extensions, in conjunction with the already-completed upgrade of the terminal building and facilities,[10] allows regular commercial jet services between Rotorua and Australia. After the upgrade was completed Air New Zealand announced that it would begin international flights between Rotorua and Sydney on 12 December 2009, despite the airline opposing the expansion earlier, before construction began.[7] These flights across the Tasman operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays During peak times but are often reduced to one flight a week during off peak times.[11]


The conversion of Rotorua Airport to an international airport has encountered both strong opposition and support from locals.[3][12] Critics cite concern over on-going debt servicing and operating costs, anticipated noise levels, the destruction of natural forest and privately owned planted trees to accommodate the newly lowered flight path, and potential safety issues. The Ngati Uenukukopako tribe, whose marae is located at the northern end of the runway, have taken a complaint to the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, and residents at the southern end of the runway continue to resist the Airport Company's programme to enforce cutting of trees which have been a longstanding feature of the area.[13][14][15]


The airport is located around 9.17 kilometres (5.70 mi) northeast of Rotorua on Te Ngae Road (SH30).

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Air New Zealand Seasonal: Sydney[16]
Air New Zealand Link operated by Air Nelson Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington
Air New Zealand Link operated by Eagle Airways Auckland
Air New Zealand Link operated by Mount Cook Airline Christchurch, Queenstown
Sunair Gisborne, Hamilton

Qantas previously served Rotorua from Christchurch using Boeing 737 aircraft,[17] but this service was withdrawn in 2009.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c NZ AIP Rotorua airport plate retrieved 19 December 2009.
  3. ^ a b Airport extension delayed (The Daily Post) 2006-12-27
  4. ^ "Rotorua airport expansion faces hurdles". National Business Review. 13 June 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Rotorua runway extension hits snag (The Daily Post) 2009-02-26
  6. ^ Hapu accuses council of racism over airport compo plan (The Daily Post) 2007-06-26
  7. ^ a b O'Rourke, Simon (10 May 2007). "Green light for runway that could open tourist gateway". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  8. ^ (9 January 2006). "Rotorua gets ready for international flights". The New Zealand Herald. 
  9. ^ "$24 million airport project for Rotorua". The New Zealand Herald. The Daily Post. 19 February 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Rotorua Airport's new car park system taking off". The New Zealand Herald. The Daily Post. 28 April 2006. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Air NZ unveils new Rotorua-Sydney flights". The New Zealand Herald. 7 August 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  12. ^ "Council accused of arrogance over runway". The New Zealand Herald. The Daily Post. 8 February 2006. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "Iwi attacks Rotorua airport plans". National Business Review. 26 June 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Maori claim airspace above Rotorua marae". The Dominion Post. 24 June 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  15. ^ The Trees of Te Ngae
  16. ^ "Sydney flights canned for winter - Rotorua Daily Post - Rotorua Daily Post News". The New Zealand Herald. 27 September 2013. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Jetstar offering fares for NZ debut - Business - NZ Herald News". The New Zealand Herald. 17 February 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]