Airports and ports

Buddle Findlay has developed specific industry knowledge that enables us to provide legal advice across the full spectrum of legal services to major international airports, regional airports and ports in New Zealand.


Airports are infrastructure companies with specialised and commercial property holdings and require a range of commercial, financial, construction, property and resource management advice.

As in other developed countries, airport businesses in New Zealand have been turned into companies and ownership of the major international airports has diversified into mixed private and local government shareholding as well as mixed central government and local government shareholding.

Airports operate under airport-specific regulation and, in the case of airport companies, information disclosure under the Commerce Act.  They are also subject to further regulation such as oversight of charges.

Ports are not regulated in the same way as airports, but nevertheless face similar issues in negotiating charges with their customers.  The setting of charges therefore requires a disciplined approach to valuation of assets, setting of weighted average cost of capital (WACC), and recovery for improvements and maintenance such as dredging.

We provide legal services to major international airports, regional airports and ports in New Zealand, and have developed specific industry knowledge and expertise to service all facets of airports' and ports' legal requirements.  We provide a range of airports, ports, and clients with interests in airports and ports, with:

  • Advice on the special regulatory environment for airports comprising the Airport Authorities Act, consultation processes for setting landing changes, regulation of joint-venture airports under the Civil Aviation Act, civil air safety and aviation security regulation, border controls and land use regulation under the Resource Management Act and the Public Works Act

  • Advice on information disclosure and economic regulation under the Commerce Act

  • Advice and drafting of contracts relating to airport and port services, major equipment supply such as fire tenders, and the purchase of services such as the bulk purchase of telecommunications services and electricity

  • Advice on property and construction requirements of airports, including aeronautical land leases, terminal leases (including commercial concessions and licences) airport construction and maintenance contracts, tendering of rental car, taxi and other concessions for transport operators at airports

  • Acquisition and divestment of land under the Public Works Act and section 40 obligations.

Work highlights

Advising Wellington International Airport

on commercial property leases and acquisition of land for aeronautical purposes

Advising CentrePort

on the consenting of its Shipping Channel Deepening Project to enable bigger ships (up to a 14.5m draught) to enter Wellington Harbour

Acting for Treasury

in the sale of the Crown’s shareholding in Auckland International Airport, including related due diligence

Advising Wellington International Airport

on two rounds of consultations under the Airport Authorities Act with its airline customers on its proposed charges for aeronautical services, and its decision to set new charges. We acted on subsequent judicial reviews brought by Air New Zealand and actions by Wellington International Airport to recover unpaid charges

Advising Port Taranaki

on its pricing negotiations with its customers

Advising the Ministry of Transport

on the privatisation of Hawke's Bay Airport

Our team

Charlotte von Dadelszen

Partner, Wellington
Board of Management

Charlotte specialises in leasing, construction and land-related property advice. She has been involved in the development…

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David Allen

Partner, Wellington

David specialises in all aspects of resource management, environmental and natural resources law and local government law…

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Hamish Kynaston

Partner, Wellington

Hamish specialises in employment relations, litigation, health law, health and safety, and education…

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John Buchan

Partner, Christchurch

John specialises in corporate and commercial law and in particular, commercial property. He acts on a wide range of transactions…

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Mark Odlin

Partner, Christchurch
Board of Management

Mark specialises in corporate and commercial law and advises on a range of financial, commercial and corporate law matters, including…

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Sherridan Cook

Partner, Auckland
Board of Management

Sherridan specialises in advocacy and commercial litigation, with considerable expertise and experience in…

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Susie Kilty

Partner, Wellington

Susie specialises in competition, fair trading, overseas investment consents and economic regulation, particularly of infrastructure in…

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Terence Ng

Partner, Auckland

Terence specialises in banking and finance, corporate and commercial, and property law…

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Tony Wilkinson

Partner, Auckland

Tony has a highly regarded practice acting for public and private sector clients. He is the lead tax advisor for Buddle Findlay’s most…

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