Published date: 7 May 2021

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has endorsed Milford Sound Piopiotahi Aerodrome’s recommendation to retain the vital aerodrome flight information service (AFIS) for pilots flying within Milford Sound.

CAA Aeronautical Services Manager Sean Rogers says this endorsement comes at the conclusion of the CAA’s recent assessment of the safety needs at the aerodrome.

“Milford Sound is an important component of the domestic and international tourism industry. Many of the visitors to the region enjoy the natural wonders Milford Sound provides from the air. The bespoke elements of the aviation environment, such as its isolation, terrain, and rapidly changing weather conditions make for challenging conditions for flying and to operate an aerodrome,” Mr Rogers said.

“We recently reviewed an ‘aeronautical study’ report submitted by the aerodrome operator, the Ministry of Transport. This report assessed the appropriateness of the current risk mitigations needed to help keep people safe both in the air and on the ground at Milford Sound.”

The study recommended that the existing AFIS system in place at Milford Sound was retained – a recommendation the CAA supported through the independent review of the study.

“Today’s announcement will likely provide welcome certainty for the aviation community who regularly fly to Milford Sound. Operators find that the flight information service provides them with invaluable updates about local weather conditions and other pertinent information to promote increased pilot situational awareness,” Mr Rogers said.

“Despite the effects of COVID-19 on our tourism sector, flights to Milford Sound have been popular with New Zealanders as they’ve explored more of their backyard. These are likely to be popular with Australian tourists too as they make the most of quarantine-free trans-Tasman travel.”

Over coming months the Civil Aviation Authority will engage with the Ministry of Transport as it works towards the qualifying certification of Milford Sound Piopiotahi Aerodrome for the first time. This will help provide extra reassurance about safety and security at the aerodrome.

Please contact the CAA media team for further information:

027 763 0000 |