Everything you wanted to know about New Zealand’s Gisborne Airport


There’s nothing like settling back in your seat, plugging in some tunes, and looking out the window of the plane as you prepare for a vacation of a lifetime. So what about if you saw a train pass you by? While it might seem crazy to many of us, that’s the reality for passengers traveling from Gisborne airport.

Small but mighty

Gisborne Airport might be small, but it’s responsible for 150,000 passengers a year who use it to fly within New Zealand. In fact, it is just one of 62 airports found across the country, but this one has a difference. Gisborne Airport is made up of four runways altogether. The three grass runways are used for light aircrafts while the main runways is responsible for the larger planes and the train line. Wait, what?!

Everything you wanted to know about New Zealand’s Gisborne Airport

Split in the middle

As well as all those planes taking to the skies, it seems as though Gisborne Airport has another element to take into consideration: the train line running through the middle of their main runway. The best bit? It’s still in use and sees many trains pass through every single day. It seems as though you really could get the train all the way to the plane thanks to this unusual airport.

Mixing up the schedules

The airport has flights anywhere from 6:30am to 8:30pm and can see many planes take to the skies each and every day. However, there is also the train timetable that has a host of vehicles passing down the tracks each week. So how do they know who can go? Well, simply put: they don’t! No, it turns out that trains will have to wait for planes and vise versa as they both get out of each other’s way. The other just has to sit and wait until the other is gone.

Risking it all

While having trains zoom along the tracks while planes are speeding up to take off or coming in to land at the same time might sound like a recipe for disaster, it seems as though the air traffic control have been able to work out a pretty full-proof system over the years. Amazingly, there have never been any reported accidents thanks to the two vehicles accidentally meeting on the asphalt.

Everything you wanted to know about New Zealand’s Gisborne Airport

Getting a renovation

It was recently announced that Gisborne Airport was given a $5.5 million loan to help improve and redesign the entire airport. At last, it could be brought into the 21st century. Although there have been grand plans to help increase the level of security around the main runway and to redesign the buildings to reflect the region, it appears as though the railway line will be staying put. It is such a big part of the area, after all.

While many airports and runways have caught our eye over the years, we’re not sure we’ve ever seen one with a railway line intersecting the runway. Flying from Gisborne Airport certainly is a journey that not many of us would ever forget.