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Aerial shot of Milford Sound AerodromeWhere the aerodrome is

Milford Sound Piopiotahi Aerodrome is a small, busy aerodrome in Fiordland National Park. Milford is situated close to sea level at the head of Milford Sound. It is located at the conjunction of 3 valley systems and is surrounded by water and steep mountains.

Who operates the aerodrome

The aerodrome is owned by Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport on behalf of the Crown.

A team lead by Rob Somers, the Aerodrome CEO, manages the day-to-day operations.

The aerodrome is operated under a civil aviation rule part 139(external link) qualifying aerodrome operator certificate.

The aerodrome’s senior persons are:

  • Rob Somers, Aerodrome CEO
  • Richard Poff, Aerodrome Operations Manager
  • Evan Pearce, Safety Manager.

Airways Corporation of New Zealand Ltd (Airways) provides a flight information service, and the Department of Conservation administers the aerodrome land.  

Using the aerodrome

The aerodrome is certificated under part 139 as a qualifying aerodome and mostly used for general aviation operations under visual flight rules. Most flights into Milford are tourist flights scheduled to meet boat sailings and other organised activities when the weather is favourable.

Before using the aerodrome pilots must receive a:

  • landing permit from the Department of Conservation, and
  • pilot’s briefing if they have not flown into the aerodrome in the last 6 months.

Operational requirements and the aerodrome landing chart are detailed in the New Zealand Information Publication on the Aeronautical Information Publication New Zealand website.

How to get a landing permit

You need a landing permit or ‘concession’ from the Department of Conservation to land at Milford Sound Piopiotahi Aerodrome.

If you wish to apply for a landing permit, you can contact:

The Department of Conservation
Dunedin Office
PO Box 5244
Moray Place
Telephone: 03 477 0677

How to get a pilot’s briefing

Pilots who have not flown into the aerodrome within the last 6 months must be briefed in person. The aerodrome is surrounded by difficult terrain and the airspace is subject to unusual conditions because of the micro-climate there.

Call one of the following local Queenstown-Milford User Group (QMUG) operators to receive a briefing:

  • Air Milford: 03 442 2351
  • Glenorchy Air: 03 442 2207
  • Milford Sound Flights: 0800 207 206
  • Over the Top: 03 442 2233
  • True South Flights: 0800 777 922.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has developed guidance on flying to or from Milford Sound Piopiotahi Aerodrome.

Queenstown-Milford User Group

The Queenstown-Milford User Group (QMUG) formed in 1990 to promote safety for aircraft operators within the Queenstown Flight Information Region. Most operators who use the Milford Sound aerodrome are members of the QMUG, including:

  • local aircraft operators
  • local sport aviation operators
  • CAA
  • Airways (Queenstown)
  • Queenstown Airport Corporation
  • Ministry of Transport
  • Department of Conservation.

The QMUG Operations Handbook is a valuable guide for pilots using the aerodrome. Under Certification, Milford Aerodrome has its own user group, Milford User Group (MUG). Recommendations made through the Milford User Group will be distributed through the AIP and QMUG forums.

How much it costs to use the aerodrome

Airways charges pilots for use of the Flight Information Service. The Airways website has information on their air navigation service (ANS) charges, how they calculate prices and what services they provide.

We operate the aerodrome on a cost recovery basis, which means charges only cover the cost of owning and operating the aerodrome.

The current charges were introduced on 1 December 2011. We invoice operators using the aerodrome monthly in arrears.

Aircraft and charge per landing in NZD (excluding GST)

  • Helicopters $25.22
  • Aeroplanes <1500kg MCTOW $23.47
  • Aeroplanes 1500–1999kg MCTOW $38.15
  • Aeroplanes 2000–3999kg MCTOW $73.36
  • Aeroplanes 4000–4999kg MCTOW $117.37
  • Aeroplanes 5000–5999kg MCTOW $134.97.

New Zealand Air Navigation Register details

Name: Milford Sound Aerodrome
Code: NZMF
Type: Part 139 certificated (Qualifying Aerodrome) 
Co-ordinates: S 44 40 24.0, E 167 55 24.0 (coordinates are WGS-84 datum)

Emergency, health and safety requirements

The aerodrome's senior persons are responsible for the aerodrome’s emergency plans, and the health and safety policies.

Aerodrome Emergency Plan

The aerodrome’s Emergency Plan is available on-site and is maintained in the pilots room, airside.

Aerodrome health and safety

We have general responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. In addition, our management team, the Department of Conservation, Airways and QMUG members have employer responsibilities under the Act.

We provide an aerodrome health and safety policy that sets out the responsibilities of each employer, and an Operations, Safety and Security Manual that contains our Safety Management procedures. Our System for Safety Management outlines our Hazard and Risk Management process under our Certification.

We maintain a register of the health and safety hazards at the aerodrome. If you operate in or visit the area and become aware of a hazard, please contact us, Airways staff or a local operator.

The Ministry’s health and safety policy for the aerodrome is currently under review and an updated version will be published here shortly.

How to contact us

For aerodrome operational matters

Richard Poff


Telephone: 021 744 802

For safety matters

Evan Pearce


Phone: 027 220 2160

For invoicing queries

Accounts Receivable


Telephone: 04 439 9000