A thriving airport community

Wānaka’s community airport, in the heart of the Upper Clutha.
A small airport servicing the Upper Clutha district, with a long history of General Aviation and a thriving community of aviation focussed businesses, all situated just 10 minutes’ drive from Wānaka township.

By the numbers

Many of us drive past Wānaka Airport without stopping to think about what happens at the airport. So here are some up-to-date numbers, direct from the Wānaka Airport community, to help you understand the size and scope of the airport community.

Aircraft movements (takeoffs and landings) annually (actual number for period to 31/03/23)

years of flying experience amongst our members at Wānaka Airport

aircraft based at the airport (both private and commercial)

annual revenue (in NZ$) across all businesses based at the airport

FTE staff based here

total NZ$ in salaries paid annually to locals

suppliers to businesses at Wānaka Airport

General Aviation

As a small community airport, there is plenty of General Aviation at Wānaka Airport. You’ll see small, private aircraft (old and new) flying in and out of the airport all year round. It is regarded as one of the most stunning locations to visit by plane, within easy flying distance of some of NZ’s most picturesque landscapes.


Wānaka Airport is home to numerous businesses which train pilots from learner through to various commercial qualifications and ratings. At Wānaka airport, you can learn to fly helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, or take your flying to the next commercial level.


Aviation Services

There are many businesses at Wānaka Airport which provide specialist aviation services. Commercial flight operators (helicopter and fixed wing), aircraft engineering firms, and aviation support services, just to name a few. There are many hundreds of private and commercial aircraft which receive regular maintenance at Wānaka Airport.


Direct to CHC in under an hour

SoundsAir flies daily between WKA and CHC

The frequent service has been welcomed (and very well utilised) by locals, and has been operating since November 2020. The flight takes around 40 minutes, with multiple services most days.

NASA launches from Wānaka Airport

Since 2015, the Wānaka Airport community has welcomed NASA to the airport on a frequent basis. NASA’s Super Pressure Balloon (SPB) team have launched their super sophisticated balloons from Wānaka frequently with the balloons carrying scientific equipment at high altitude around the globe for up to 100 days at a time.

When the NASA team are in town, the professional population at Wānaka Airport temporarily increases – with a significant number of experts flown in from the USA. The NASA team also works closely with New Zealand based colleagues.

You can find out more about the programme or track progress of current balloons via the NASA Super Pressure Balloon blog – click the button below.

Coming soon …

We are working on a project to provide a digital history of Wānaka Airport, right back to the days when the first aviators parked their planes under the pine trees at the Luggate end of the current airport, through to present day.

We’re currently gathering material, interviewing long-time members of the Wānaka aviation community, checking details, and getting ready to launch. This will go live during 2023.

Grab a coffee, let’s have a yarn

The Runway Lounge Cafe is a great place to meet.

The cafe is under new management, and is situated at the heart of the airport. You’ll find it on your right as you drive into the airport.

It’s a great place to have meetings, host small functions, or to come and get some work done.

The cafe serves hot and cold drinks, delicious cabinet food and also offers menu items at various times of the day.

Countdown to Warbirds over Wānaka 2024

Wānaka Airport is well known for the world class international airshow which takes place here every two years. The next one takes place over Easter 2024.

Aircraft enthusiasts travel from around New Zealand and from all over the world to experience this magnificent airshow. The event provides an incredible boost to Wānaka specifically, but also to Central Otago.

Countdown clock until the next Warbirds over Wānaka