Caring for the future.

Air Milford, operating into some of the worlds most pristine World UNESCO Heritage Parks, respect the responsibility we have as guardians of the environment. Our native people (Maori) refer to this as Tiaki – Care for our People, Place, and our Culture.

Since the companies inception, Air Milford has offered ‘eco tours’ as a point of difference, highlighting the natural beauty of our native flaura and fauna while being conscious of minimising any human impacts on the environment. Over time, we have been able to develop this strategy into more than just Tiaki, with tangible changes such as fleet upgrades. In 2022, we are proud to have the lowest environmental footprint of any aviation company in Queenstown, measured as tCO2e per passengers flown. To validate this statement, Air Milford was chosen by local agency WAO to measure and produce an emissions report to quantify these claims.

Air Milford operate the largest fleet of Cessna Caravan aircraft in Queenstown, which carry the greatest number of passengers in one single movement of any General Aviation (GA) aircraft currently in service worldwide. More specifically, Air Milford are the only company to operate the “Legacy” Caravan, which, due to its lightweight, burns on average 40 litres less fuel on every 1hr flown compared with the competitor company aircraft (Cessna Grand Caravan or Caravan EX). Finally, Air Milford has the smallest number of piston engine aircraft (x1 Cessna 185) which runs on traditional leaded ‘Av-Gas’. We are working on engine retrofits that will allow us to become the first fleet of unleaded GA aircraft in the Southern Lakes region. 

From June 2022, Air Milford has chosen to voluntarily offset our carbon emissions. For this to be credible, there is a 6-part requirement that Air Milford strives to adhere to, and can be found in the document

During the booking process, our customers have the option to offset our emissions on a Milford Sound Fly/Cruise/Fly. Most airlines only take into account the direct emissions to their company (Scope 1 & 2) however we have chosen to include cruise and coach partners (Scope 3) to ensure we are offsetting the maximum tCO2e that could be emitted. Information on how this has been calculated can be requested directly from Air Milford.

For every offset, the money is currently invested into buying native trees and will be planted in the Wakatipu Basin. Please keep an eye on our airwaves page for updates. Air Milford is also a proud sponsor of the Whakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group Inc (WCG) which has provided a dedicated plot on Ben Lomond (we fly past this on our return to Queenstown) as part of our regenerative tourism investment.

TIAKI – Our duty of care for people and places!

Further to our Gold Qualmark rating, here are some examples of how we have continued to excel with our Tiaki promise:

  • 3x Recycling stations for glass, cardboard, and batteries.
  • Waste discharge such as aircraft oil is recycled into an airfield collecting station
  • All staff have embraced Te Reo further including naming iconic geographic landmarks in both English and Maori in our pilot’s commentary to passengers.
  • The airport shuttle bus in Milford Sound has been removed resulting from Covid staffing shortage. This means all passengers are guided to the boat terminal on foot. This 2km, 15 minute bush walk has no carbon output, and adds an educational element where pilot’s share Tiaki with the passengers. Examples include explaining the native flora and fauna, and how DOC is protecting the environment with predator eradication. There are over 80 native species of flora, and pilots enjoy sharing how the Maori and Pakeha used this sustainably.
  • Air Milford is proud to have “adopted a plot” on Ben Lomond for Wilding Pine eradication to help off-set our carbon emissions.
  • We hold the lowest CO2 footprint of any fixed wing scenic flight company in Queenstown, with 4/5 machines running on unleaded kerosene (as opposed to traditional leaded Av-Gas).
  • Our pilots are all rehearsed on glacial retreat and the Big 5 Glacier experience was based around highlighting this fact and educating how climate change is affecting the world’s glaciers.
  • We have done team building outings to plant native trees with the Wakatipu Reforestation.