Media Release – Invercargill Airport wins national award

Media Release – Invercargill Airport wins national award

Invercargill Airports wins national award

August 30 2022

Invercargill Airport Ltd (IAL) has won best Community Engagement Initiative of the Year in the NZ Airports Awards 2021.

The award recognises the significant work undertaken by IAL in partnership with Air New Zealand and a wide range of Southland businesses and organisations on the Jet Service Project to create direct flights to Auckland from Invercargill.

Announcement of the 2021 awards was delayed due to covid.

The year-long project was actioned and executed by community engagement at an extraordinary level.

The airport worked with civic bodies, large businesses, iwi, community groups and leaders, educational facilities, environmental bodies, media and Government to craft and execute a strategy to drive Southland forward.

Ease of access to the region was a key success factor in the strategy to support business growth, accessibility, liveability and attraction, and population growth.

IAL’s innovative approach to the campaign saw the emphasis placed on Southland and the opportunities it could open, rather than the airport itself. Thanks to its in-depth work with the wider regional community, it demonstrated underlying demand so Air New Zealand had the confidence to boost additional capacity and flights.

Innovation was demonstrated in the breadth of the project, the matrix of groups involved, the depth of market research undertaken, communication and genuine collaboration with all stakeholders.

The airport partnered with Invercargill City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, Southland District Council, Environment Southland, Great South, Community Trust South, iwi, ILT, SIT, Tiwai, South Port, SBS, and HWR Group.  

The group raised significant funds to support Air New Zealand’s marketing campaigns in Auckland to encourage visitors and businesses to make the trip south.

IAL Board Chair Grant Lilly said the airport was “delighted” to win the award, and paid tribute to the work of former CE Nigel Finnerty in driving and realising the project.

“The work undertaken in ‘bringing the jet South’ brought about a cohesive vision for Southland through strategic partnerships that continue to this day,” he said. “The objectives of the Jet Service Project were bold and continue to be bolstered by investment in the city such as our latest hotel and new retail centre Invercargill Central.

“At the airport, with the support of the Provincial Growth Fund, we invested in infrastructure, security screening lanes, X-ray machines, secure lounge baggage screening and new apron hardstands at a cost of $1.6m.”

Freight processes and systems were developed to manage increased freight on the new route, and the airport became a full Tier 1 security airport to support aircraft up to A321 size. The project created approximately 30 jobs in Southland across the airport, Air New Zealand and AVSEC.

As a fully-functional jet aircraft airport, with the third-longest commercial runway in New Zealand, it can now handle some trans-Tasman and wide bodied aircraft.

Great South chair Ian Collier said he was “heavily involved” in the project.

“It remains, in my view, one of the best organized, managed and executed community based, regional campaigns I was involved with,” he said.

Air New Zealand Regional Affairs Manager Jason Dawson congratulated the Invercargill Airport team on the win following a successful collaborative partnership with stakeholders in Southland Murihiku.

“When we launched the jet service in August 2019, we had such an enthusiastic response from the Southland community who had long sought a direct connection to Auckland,” he said. “We’re thrilled to be back flying the direct Auckland to Invercargill service five times per week and look forward to continuing to work with our partners in the region to enable tourism and broader economic recovery.”

Picture caption:

1/ Invercargill Airport wins national community engagement award

For further media information please contact:

Grant Lilly

Invercargill Airport Ltd Board Chair


Invercargill Airport wins national community engagement award