Nelson Airport (New Zealand)

Nelson Airport (Māori: Te Papa Waka Rererangi o Whakatū) (IATA: NSN, ICAO: NZNS) is located 6 km (3.7 mi) south-west of central Nelson, New Zealand, in the suburb of Annesbrook. Approximately 1.2 million passengers and visitors use the airport terminal annually.[6] Passenger numbers for the 2017 financial year were 1,000,373,[7] up from 865,203 in 2016.[8]

Nelson Airport
Te Papa Waka Rererangi o Whakatū
Nelson Airport, 1977
Airport typePublic
OperatorNelson Airport Limited
LocationNelson, New Zealand
Elevation AMSL17 ft / 5 m
Coordinates41°17′54″S 173°13′16″E
Location of airport in the northern South Island
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02R/20L 1,347 4,420 Asphalt
02L/20R 731 2,398 Grass/Dirt
06/24 670 2,200 Grass/Dirt
17/35 600 1,970 Grass/Dirt
Statistics (2017)
Sources: Airport,[1] AIP,[2] DAFIF,[3][4][5]

It is the sixth-busiest airport in New Zealand by passenger numbers and seventh by aircraft movements, as well as being the busiest New Zealand airport without any scheduled international service. The airport has an Air New Zealand Koru Lounge.[9]


Bristol 170 Freighter unloading at Nelson, November 5, 1952

Construction of Nelson Airport commenced in 1937.[10] In 2006, the airport received restricted international airport status and it has handled international private jets since then. The airport averages 60 commercial flights per day. The Airport precinct is home to 35 aeronautical and support businesses.[11]

Nelson airport is the home base of Air Nelson operating under the Air NZ Link banner, which operates a fleet of 23 Bombardier Dash 8 Q300s on national air routes. Air New Zealand, Air Nelson's parent airline, recently expanded its Nelson base, investing 30 million dollars to develop the engineering and technical workshops. Air New Zealand then announced the Air Nelson maintenance facility would also handle fellow subsidiary Mount Cook Airline's fleet of ATR 72-600 aircraft.[12]

The airport has a single terminal building with 9 tarmac gates. A further 7 remote gates are located adjacent to the terminal.

In 2014, Nelson City Council deemed the main terminal of Nelson Airport an earthquake risk and at fault of possible liquefaction. The airport has been granted 10 years to upgrade the terminal to meet current building standards.[13] The Nelson Airport management on 8 September 2015 have decided to rebuild the terminal instead of renovating the existing complex as this will best meet the growth needs in the future. It was also announced that due to increased airline activity strong passenger growth could be expected over the next two years. It is estimated that by the end of 2017 there could be more than 1 million passengers per annum and over 300 flights per week at the airport.[14]

On December 6, 2017, the airport inaugurated 270 new parking spaces and new exit barrier arms (the latter located near Air New Zealand's hangar on Trent Drive) in order to help with traffic flow during the development and expansion phase mentioned above.[15]

The former Nelson Airport terminal in 2012
An Air New Zealand Link Dash 8 at Nelson in 2012.

Airlines and destinations

Air New Zealand Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington
Golden Bay Air Karamea, Takaka[16]
Originair Hamilton[17] Palmerston North, Wellington[18]
Sounds Air Kapiti Coast,[19] Wellington

See also


  1. Nelson Airport, official site
  2. Charts for NZNS at AIP New Zealand
  3. Airport information for NZNS at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
  4. Airport information for NSN / NZNS at Great Circle Mapper. Source: AIP, CAA, DAFIF.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 August 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "Welcome to Nelson Airport". Archived from the original on 15 June 2007. Retrieved 11 March 2007.
  7. "Reports 2017". Archived from the original on 23 January 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  8. "Nelson Airport experiences record growth after busiest year ever". Stuff.
  9. "Regional lounges - Air New Zealand Lounges - At the airport - Experience - Air New Zealand".
  10. Nelson Aerodrome, Evening Post, Volume CXXIII, Issue 32, 8 February 1937, p. 7.
  11. "Nelson Airport company information". Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  12. "Air Nelson to be given leeway over expansion". The Nelson Mail. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  13. "Airport has 10 years to upgrade terminal". Nelson Mail. 11 June 2014.
  14. "New terminal confirmed for Nelson Airport". 8 September 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  15. "New arms help Nelson airport visitors fly through car parking". Stuff.
  16. Golden Bay Air - Heaphy Track
  17. "Originair, Hamilton Airport prepare to restart regional passenger route". Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  18. "Originair adds Nelson-Wellington route". Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  19. L, Steve (15 May 2015). "3rd Level New Zealand: Sounds Air announces yet another new service".