Christchurch Airport (CHC)
History, Facts and Overview
(Christchurch, Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand NZ)
The region's aviation industry of today started its life as no more than farmland, back as far as 1917, when a small aerodrome was established in the Sockburn area, now known as Wigram. This airfield soon became the main aviation hub for the whole of the Christchurch area and during the early 1930s, was used predominately as a training base for the military.
By 1935, the local government in Christchurch expressed an interest in developing a municipal airport and a suitable site was chosen at Harewood. After much levelling and construction work, Christchurch International Airport (CHC) finally opened in May 1940, complete with a small terminal building. During WWII, Harewood's airport became a base for the RNZAF, finally returning to its former civilian role in the mid-1940s.
Christchurch Airport began international flights in 1950, with a popular service to Melbourne operated by Qantas Airlines. More recently in 1997, around 30 more parking spaces were added. In 1998, a new International Terminal was built, and 2007 saw the arrival of a huge new Airport Control Tower, around 600 more parking spaces and an additional Domestic Terminal and multi-purpose check-in area.
It is easy to pass the time whilst waiting for a flight to arrive or depart at Christchurch Airport. Over 20 shops are on hand should you wish to spend some of your holiday money, with popular outlets including the Airport Bookshop, Confection Air, Discover New Zealand and Next Stop Antarctica. Tax-free shopping is available at DFS Galleria and Duty Free Express, while for something a little different, pay a visit to the neighbouring Antarctic Visitors Centre, which is just a five-minute walk from Christchurch Airport and allows you to experience some extreme weather conditions.
There are also a number of places to eat out at Christchurch Airport, with plenty of inexpensive snacks available. Notable airport eateries include the Cityside Café, Café Espresso, Gallery Boutiques Café and the Green Bullet Hop Bar. A branch of the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) is on hand to meet your financial needs, while meeting rooms, conference facilities and wireless Internet access are also offered for corporate passengers.