The DOC seeks to understand interest in obtaining concessions to undertake ‘Regular’ aircraft landings at the Milford Sound/Piopiotahi Aerodrome. Expressions of interest closed 13 May 2024.


21 May 2024: The period for this Expression of Interest has now closed. 

This process was run to inform our design of a model to allocate the limited supply of Regular Landings available. 

We received expressions of interest from 33 operators. For context there are currently 26 operators that hold concessions for this activity.

Next steps

We will now be re-engaging with our Treaty Partner Ngāi Tahu.

Our next step is to make a decision on the form of the allocation process. This will address the method of allocation and any criteria.


Aircraft landings at the Milford Sound/Piopiotahi Aerodrome are authorised by DOC by concessions. The Fiordland National Park Management Plan 2007 describes three categories of aircraft operators at the Milford/Piopiotahi Aerodrome:

  1. Regular – those who hold a concession for more than 10 landings/take-offs per year.
  2. Irregular – those who hold a concession for no more than 10 landings/take-offs per year.
  3. One-off – those who hold a one-off permit for landings/take-offs undertaken only once.

Concessions held by ‘Regular’ operators expired at the end of 2021. They are authorised to continue until such time as the process to issue new concessions, initiated under section 17ZG(2)(a) of the Conservation Act, has been completed.

Review of our concessions process for aircraft landings at Milford Sound/Piopiotahi Aerodrome

While acknowledging the Fiordland National Park Management Plan 2007 being due for review and the Milford Opportunities Project, DOC continues with the process it has initiated under Section 17ZG2(a) to carry out actions that may encourage specific concession applications.

DOC now seeks to understand the nature and number of operators interested in undertaking ‘Regular’ aircraft landings at the Milford Sound/Piopiotahi Aerodrome.

Information gathered from the expression of interest will assist us to develop the allocation process.

In relation to the Fiordland National Park Management Plan, the expiry of ‘Regular’ concessions gives us the opportunity to:

  • create a concession process that will meet the plan’s objectives
  • effectively allocate the limited number of ‘Regular’ landings allowed for by the plan.

How to express an interest

Expressions of Interest (EOI) closed at 5 pm 13 May 2024.

Designing an allocation process

After the EOI process, we will begin design of an allocation process.

DOC is required to consider concessions in accordance with legislation and relevant statutory documents. These include:

  • Section 4 of the Conservation Act, to give effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi
  • National Parks Act 1980
  • General Policy for National Parks 2005
  • Part 3B of the Conservation Act
  • Southland Murihiku Conservation Management Strategy 2016
  • Fiordland National Park Management Plan 2007 (FNPMP).

Part 5.5.2 of the Fiordland National Park Management Plan 2007 provides specific direction for how ‘Regular’ landings are to be managed and how allocation for this round of concessions may be considered.

Key provisions include:

Part 5.5.2 Milford Aerodrome Objective 1

To manage aircraft access in a way that facilitates public use and enjoyment of Fiordland National Park but does not have unacceptable adverse effects on natural values or visitors to Fiordland National Park.

Part 5.5.2 Milford Aerodrome Implementation 22

Prior to the expiry of concessions, consideration may be given to how concessions may be allocated beyond this term. Options that may be considered (but not limited to these options) are:

    1. The allocation of concessions to concessionaires that have applied and who have fully complied with all the terms and conditions of their concessions and have made significant efforts to minimise the adverse effects of their activity through their five-year plans; or
    2. The use of an appropriate allocation process to reallocate landings/take-offs at Milford Aerodrome so as to improve the mitigation of adverse effects of aircraft activity at Milford Aerodrome.

How concessions are to be allocated beyond the now expired first round is yet to be considered.

Participation in this EOI is not a pre-requisite to potential participation in any allocation process but will help DOC to design the model.

Summary of questions received during EOI process

Question: Please clarify the information requested on the website is all that is required and you are not expecting to see 5 year plans and full on applications at this stage of the process.

Answer: Correct. We only need company name/trading name, concession number/s, your role in the company (if applicable), your phone and email contact details.

Legal information

Official Information Act

The interested party acknowledges and accepts that the Minister and the Department may be required to release information submitted through the EOI process in accordance with the Official Information Act 1982.

No contract

This EOI and any submissions made do not constitute a contract with the Minister and does not give any rights or cause of action against the Minister.

No obligation

The Minister has no obligation whatsoever to compensate or indemnify any respondent for any expenses or loss that they may incur in the preparation of their EOI. There is no guarantee that the EOI will result in any subsequent process run, and/or any concession granted.

The Minister is not bound to complete the EOI.

Conservation Act 1987

Pursuant to s17R(2)(a) no new applications will be accepted for this activity while the s17ZG(2)(a) process that applies to this activity and process is in place.


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