Milford is a small, busy aerodrome situated close to sea level at the head of Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. It is located at the conjunction of three valley systems and is surrounded by water on three sides and steep mountains.
Most of the flights into Milford are tourist flights scheduled to meet boat sailings and other organised activities during favourable weather conditions. The aerodrome is almost exclusively used for general aviation operations under visual flight rules (VFR).
The Ministry of Transport manages operations at the aerodrome. Airways Corporation of New Zealand Ltd (Airways)(external link) provides a flight information service. The Department of Conservation(external link) administers the aerodrome land. There is a resident helicopter operator, Milford Helicopters Ltd, that provides local services to tourists, hunters, trampers, and the Department of Conservation.
NZ Air Navigation Register Details
Name: Milford Sound Aerodrome
Co-ordinates: S 44 40 24.0, E 167 55 24.0 (coordinates are WGS-84 datum)
Operational requirements and the aerodrome landing chart are detailed in the New Zealand Information Publication on the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) New Zealand website(external link).
Prior to using the aerodrome
Prior to using the aerodrome pilots must receive a pilot’s briefing and a concession from the Department of Conservation.
The airspace around the aerodrome is constrained by precipitous terrain and often experiences unusual micro climatic conditions. For pilots who have not flown into the aerodrome within the last six months, a pilot’s briefing is required. The briefing must be given in person. If you would like to arrange for a pilot’s briefing contact the Wakatipu Aero Club by calling 03 442 3148.
A landing permit or ‘concession’ from the Department of Conservation is required to land at the Milford Sound aerodrome. There are three types of permits relative to the aerodrome:
- One-off Landing Permit
- Irregular Landing Permit (for up to 10 landings per year
- Regular Landing Permit, for more than landings 10 landings per year (currently fully allocated).
If you wish to apply for a ‘One-off’ or ‘Irregular’ landing permit, please contact:
The Department of Conservation
PO Box 5244
Moray Place, Dunedin
Telephone: 03 477 0677
The Queenstown-Milford User Group (QMUG)
The Queenstown-Milford User Group was formed in 1990 to promote safety for those aircraft operators within the Queenstown Flight Information Region. Most operators that use the Milford Sound aerodrome are members of the QMUG. The QMUG consists of:
- Local Aircraft Operators
- Local Sport Aviation Operators
- Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand
- Airways Corporation of NZ (Queenstown)
- Queenstown Airport Corporation
- Ministry of Transport
- The Department of Conservation
The QMUG Operations Handbook is a valuable guide to pilots using the aerodrome. Pilots who wish to use the aerodrome should familiarise themselves with the Handbook.
Good Aviation Practice
The Civil Aviation Authority provides Good Aviation Practice guide books on a range of topics. For guidance on flying to or from Milford Sound we recommend you read the guides; In, Out and Around Milford, and Mountain Flying(external link).
Airways charges pilots for use of the Flight Information Service. The Ministry charges pilots for other aerodrome services.
The Ministry operates the aerodrome on a cost recovery basis. On a year by year basis, overall charges are intended only to recover the costs of owning and operating the aerodrome. Charges are set by the Minister of Transport pursuant to Regulation 13 of the Civil Aviation Charges Regulations (No. 2) 1991.
Current charges were introduced on 1 December 2011. They are:
|Aircraft||Charge per landing (ex GST)|
|Aeroplanes <1500 kg MCTOW||$23.47|
|Aeroplanes 1500-1999 kg MCTOW||$38.15|
|Aeroplanes 2000-3999 kg MCTOW||$73.36|
|Aeroplanes 4000-4999 kg MCTOW||$117.37|
|Aeroplanes 5000-5999 kg MCTOW||$134.97|
|Aeroplanes 6000> kg MCTOW||$293.42|
Operators using the aerodrome are invoiced monthly in arrears by the Ministry.
Aerodrome Emergency Plan
The Ministry has developed an Aerodrome Emergency Plan for Milford Sound.
This Emergency Plan has been developed to facilitate the timely and appropriate response to emergencies occurring on or in the immediate vicinity of the Milford Sound Piopiotahi Aerodrome. The principal goals of this plan are to render necessary assistance and minimise further injury or damage to persons and property involved in accidents or emergency situations at the aerodrome.
The Emergency Plan will remain in operation and be reviewed annually or after an actual emergency to correct any deficiency found. .
If you have any enquiries about the Emergency Plan please contact
Telephone: 0274 335 695
Health and Safety
The Ministry recognises that it has general responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. Similarly, the Department of Conservation, Airways, Milford Helicopters and other QMUG members have employer responsibilities under that Act.
The Ministry has an aerodrome Health and Safety Policy, setting out the aerodrome relationships and responsibilities of each employer, and an aerodrome Health and Safety Manual. While intended primarily for the Ministry, the Safety Manual is generic enough to apply to other aerodrome employers.
The Ministry maintains a hazard register of the health and safety hazards at the aerodrome. If you operate in or visit the area and are aware of any hazards not captured on this register, please contact the Ministry, Airways staff, or a local operator to alert them.
For aerodrome operational matters, please contact Chris Read, Tel: 0274 335 695, or Chris Read
For invoicing queries, contact Accounts Receivable, Tel: 04-439 9377.