Palmerston North Airport

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Palmerston North Airport
Palmerston North Airport Logo.png
Air traffic control tower for PMR/NZPM
Airport type Public
Owner Palmerston North City Council
Operator Palmerston North Airport
Location Palmerston North
Elevation AMSL 151 ft / 46 m
Coordinates 40°19′14″S 175°37′01″E / 40.32056°S 175.61694°E / -40.32056; 175.61694
PMR is located in North Island
Location of airport in North Island
Direction Length Surface
ft m
07L/25R 6,240 1,902 Asphalt
07R/25L 1,995 608 Grass
Statistics (2016)
Passengers 515,727
Movements 55,960

Palmerston North Airport (IATA: PMRICAO: NZPM), originally called Milson Aerodrome, is an airport in the Manawatu-Wanganui region of New Zealand, serving Palmerston North City and the Central North Island regions. It is located in the suburb of Milson, on the outskirts of Palmerston North, New Zealand, approximately 5.5 km (3.4ml) NE from the central business district of Palmerston North City. The airport is 100% owned by the Palmerston North City Council and covers an area of 208ha.[2] The airport is New Zealand’s 8th busiest and handled a total of 515,727 in the 2016 financial year. The airport handles around 30 commercial passenger flights per day to and from Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton, Nelson and Wellington .

The airport operates two runways, a sealed 1902m runway and a parallel grass 608m runway, which is utilised for general aviation and training activities by Massey University’s School of Aviation, Helipro and Eagle Aviation.[3] Operating 24/7 with no curfews imposed, the airport has become a freight hub for Parcelair.[4]

Common aircraft operating in Palmerston North Airport are ATR72, Bombardier Q300 and Jetstream 31. Diamond DA40 training aircraft used by Massey University’s School of Aviation are also commonly seen in the airport.[5] In addition to the normal aircraft types, the airport is able to cater for Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft. The airport accommodates charters including business jets through to the larger Airbus A320 aircraft. The airport receives many diverting flights from Wellington due to its constantly windy and unstable weather.[6] The airport has an excellent operational preference, opening majority of the time.[7]


The first airfield on this site was created by the Milson Aerodrome Society in 1931, comprising a grass runway. It was used exclusively for private flights. The first commercial flights began in 1936, operated by Union Airways. During World War II the airport was also used as a military facility. When the National Airways Corporation commenced service to the airport in the 1950s the runway was sealed and a terminal building was constructed; jets started to serve the airport in 1975, beginning with Boeing 737s.

A new terminal was constructed in 1992 and a new taxiway was built in 1994. Following the major upgrades of the airport, Freedom Air started regular international flights to Brisbane and Sydney in 1996. Other destinations including Gold Coast and Melbourne were added in 1999.[8]

A Royal Brunei Airlines Boeing 767 landed at the airport on 10 March 2003, making it the first 767 to land at the airport. Since Freedom Air ceased operations in 2008, no carrier has served the airport with scheduled international flights.

In 2014, the airport released its Masterplan for 2014-2035. Some proposed ideas include further lengthening the runway, a new taxiway parallel to the runway and an Instrument landing system.[9]

World record[edit]

On 17 May 1998, ten people towed a fully fuelled Freedom Air Boeing 737-300 over 100 metres in 47 seconds, to celebrate the opening of the new runway extensions. The record was logged in the Guinness World Records.


Palmerston North Airport Terminal Building, June 2015
Air New Zealand Link Beechcraft 1900 at Palmerston North Airport.
Air New Zealand Link ATR72-500 at Palmerston North Airport

The current terminal is a modern and spacious two storey building containing:[10]

  • a licensed cafe and bar, open daily from 5.30am
  • a bookshop and travel convenience store
  • an Air New Zealand Regional Koru Lounge
  • free Wi-Fi in the terminal
  • 24/7 automated parking
  • five rental car agencies on site
  • two meeting rooms for casual hire
  • a family room
  • a Union Airways Gallery exhibition of early commercial flight in New Zealand

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Airlines Destinations
Air New Zealand Link
operated by Air Nelson
Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton, Wellington
Air New Zealand Link
operated by Mount Cook Airline
Auckland, Christchurch
Jetstar Airways
operated by Eastern Australia Airlines[11]
Originair Nelson[13]


Airlines Destinations
operated by Airwork
Auckland, Christchurch


See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Palmerston North Airport Fast Facts". Palmerston North Airport. 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING" (PDF). Palmerston North Airport. 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  4. ^ "About us". Fieldair- Aircraft Engineering. 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "About the school of Education". Massey University. 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  6. ^ "How windy is Wellington, really?". 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  7. ^ Another reason to choose Palmerston North Airport (Video). 3 News New Zealand. 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  8. ^ "Palmerston North Airport History". Palmerston North Airport. 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  9. ^ "Master Plan 2014 - 2035" (PDF). Palmerston North Airport Limited. 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "Palmerston North Airport History". Palmerston North Airport Facilities. 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  11. ^ "Jetstar Group Fleet". Jetstar. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  12. ^ "Jetstar's new routes: Nelson, Napier, New Plymouth and Palmerston North make the cut". Retrieved 31 August 2015. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Occurrence Report Details – Investigation 95-011". Transport Accident Investigation Commission. 

External links[edit]