Christchurch International Airport (CHC/NZCH)

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Christchurch Airport was lit blue each night for a week to celebrate the arrival of the new Prince of Cambridge, the future King of New Zealand. It was then lit red for the launch of 'South' – an initiative facilitated by Christchurch Airport, in conjunction with the 13 Regional Tourism Organisations, to collectively promote the entire South Island as a tourism destination.

Christchurch Airport – New Zealand's tourism gateway – the breath-taking scenery begins with the walk up the airbridge!

Other major reasons to serve this airport

  • Open Skies
  • CHC is New Zealand’s tourism gateway.  It is centrally located on the East Coast  of the South Island which allows easy access to New Zealand’s stunning natural attractions and spectacular scenery: Whale Watching in Kaikoura, the glacier region of the West Coast, the areas of Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo and the Southern Lakes region.
  • CHC is the second largest city and airport in New Zealand and the main gateway to New Zealand’s South Island.  The airport is well served domestically but has much potential to accommodate more international carriers.
  • CHC has completed an integrated brand new terminal which combines domestic and international check in counters, a large retail and food + beverage precinct, large departure and arrival lounges and swing gates, all with a unique South Island look and feel.
  • CHC is curfew-free. It can operate 24/7 and has no slot restrictions.


Open skies: The NZ government's unilateral decision to allow a relaxed regime to encourage Christchurch Airport's growth means Matthew Findlay, GM Aeronautical Business Development, is able to negotiate with airlines – everywhere. Meanwhile the airport celebrates with another route launch cake – for Christchurch-Mt Cook services – an ' Cake of the Week' winner in December 2012.

Marketing and other support

  • Freight forums: created to support new airline frequency.
  • Marketing support with, not only the airlines themselves, but also through forming joint venture partnerships with key trade partners in relevant markets including New Zealand to support services in both directions.
  • Supporting and hosting famils for trade or media to introduce them to the destination.
  • PR support for inaugural flights or special anniversaries e.g. media, VIP passengers, special ambassadors.
  • VIP Charter Programme
  • Travel Agent Familiar Programme Christchurch Airport Supplement produced a special commemorative supplement devoted to the 2013 opening of the new air terminal.

Christchurch Airport and people: The Christchurch Marathon is now sponsored by the airport and indeed now takes place in the airport's environs, attracting some 5,000 entrants to the main race and associated events.

Catchment Area

  • Christchurch: 0.5 million
  • South Island: 1.0 million
  • Greater catchment area: 1.4 million

Freight: The global demand for fresh air freighted New Zealand produce is legendary. Christchurch International Airport is also the main jumping off point for the US Antarctic Program which began in 1955.

Under-served freight opportunities and other economic impact factors

  • Second largest port of entry for export and import, largest in the South Island
  • Major industry includes agricultural products, processed food and manufacturing
  • FOB value in NZD is nearly 40% of all airports combined in 2012

2012 CHC-AU trading volume by port (KG)

2012 CHC top 10 trading countries in volume (KG)2012 CHC top 10 trading countries in value (NZD)2012 CHC-AU trading value by port (NZD)

The brand new terminal (opened 2013) has a unique South Island look and feel.


  • 17 minutes travel time to central business district

Infrastructure & Operations:

  • Runways: Two runways with parallel full-length taxiways.  Main: 3,288m length; Secondary: 1,741m length.
  • Slot Coordinated:  No
  • Operating hours: No curfew
  • Terminals: One integrated terminal combining domestic and international. Brand new integrated terminal officially opened on 18 April 2013.
  • Min. connect time:  One hour

Important infrastructure developments and/or other news

The renewed Christchurch Airport – serving a city arisen. Shigeru Ban's 'Cardboard Cathedral' opened in August 2013, replaces the cathedral destroyed in the 2011 earthquake. Ban's $5.3 million building is designed to last 50 years and represents a tiny fraction of the US$40 billion reconstruction – these efforts alone are likely to be a major traffic stimulus.

Vital statistics

2012 figures

  • Passenger numbers: Approximately 5.5 million passengers in 2012:  1.4 million  International/4.1 million Domestic;
  • Purpose of visit: 53% holiday travellers, 31% visit friends, 8% business
  • Freight: 27,000 tonnes in 2012 (international)
  • Largest carrier: Air New Zealand