Plane flying
Image Credit: April Stark

Tauranga Airport History

Tauranga Airport opened on 14 January 1939 and regular commercial flights began three months later. However, due to the start of WWII they were stopped again in October 1939 when the RNZAF took the airfield for its own use. Commercial services did not restart again until March 1945.

The RNZAF began flight training in Tauranga in late 1939 and in 1942 the main air force hangar was constructed. The initial cost of establishing the air force base in Tauranga was £69,455 which included camp facilities and the main hangar.

In 1966, the introduction of Friendship aircraft on regional routes meant that a better runway, runway lighting, a terminal building and control tower were required. This was when the main sealed runway was constructed. In 1998 the runway was lengthened to 1825m.

Friendships continued to serve the district until 1990 when they were phased out for the smaller Bandierante, Metroliner and Saab aircraft, operated by Eagle Airways and Air Nelson.

Today 19 seat Beechcraft 1900D make three return flights a day from Auckland to Tauranga. 50 seat Dash 8 Q300 aircraft make five return flights a day to Auckland; a further five return flights a day to Wellington and two return flights to Christchurch.


Last Reviewed: 14/10/2016