Prior to 1935 the airport started out as a "flying paddock", later serving as a maintenance base for aircraft during World War II before scheduled domestic passenger services commenced in the early 1950s.
Waikato Regional Airport Limited was formed in 1989 when the airport was sold by the crown to five local council authorities - Hamilton City Council, Waipa, Waikato, Matamata-Piako and Otorohanga District Councils.
Hamilton airport has grown rapidly since then with the introduction of international operations in 1996 and extensions to the terminal building and runway to cater for increased services.
In the last ten years over one million people have flown internationally through Hamilton Airport and 2.7 million have flown domestically.
The airport began domestic services in the early 1950s. A further domestic terminal was built in 1995 when Ansett NZ commenced scheduled services from Hamilton Airport.
Qantas NZ took over the Ansett operation in September 2000 and closed in April 2001. Origin Pacific was operating daily services to Nelson until August 2006.
Today, Air New Zealand and Sunair Aviation offer domestic travel connections to destinations throughout NZ.
Trans-Tasman Airline Operations
International services began in 1994 when Kiwi International conducted a series of charter flights. They went on to run scheduled flights from April 1995 to September 1996.
Freedom Air International provided trans-Tasman flights from December 1995 until April 2008 when parent company Air New Zealand took over these services. These services to Australia concluded in late April 2009.
Pacific Blue commenced services in September 2009 and provided travellers with 4 direct services a week to Brisbane, Australia and connections to Asia and beyond. Services were suspended in October 2012.
A major redevelopment of the terminal and car park was completed in December 2007 after three years of planning and 18 months of construction.
The new terminal provides a wider range of food and beverage offerings, improved retail experiences and increased efficiency with more check-in counters and internal baggage carousels.
Finishing on time and on budget, the $15.5 million upgrade, which was opened by Maori King Tuheitia and the Prime Minister, the Rt. Honourable Helen Clark, has been deemed a success by the shareholders, the public and industry bodies alike.
General Aviation/Industrial Development
The western precinct of the airfield is the base for a large range of aviation maintenance businesses, pilot training organisations, aircraft manufactures and aircraft painting specialists.
Businesses operating on this industrial precinct include:
- Eagle Air
- CTC Aviation Training
- Waikato Aero Club
- Super Air
- Avia Air Charter
- Phillips Search & Rescue Trust
- Hamilton Aero Maintenance
- Aeromotive Corporation
- Alpha Aviation
- Flight Structures