Christchurch International Airport (CHC) is the major airport serving Christchurch in New Zealand. Located 12 km from the center of the city, it was opened for public use in 1953. Christchurch International Airport is a major port for both international and domestic flights with international flights to Australia, Japan, Vietnam and Singapore. It also has regular scheduled domestic flights that fly tourists to Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Invercargill, Queenstown and Nelson. The airport can be reached by car or by the bus service called the Metro. CHC has a total of three runways with the primary one, made of asphalt, near perpendicular to Canterbury's Nor'wester foehn wind. The secondary runway is a cross runway, meaning it is perpendicular to the main one. The third runway has a grass surface and is used by the Canterbury Aero Club.
Christchurch International Airport serves the many airline companies including Air Chathams, Air New Zealand, Air New Zealand (operated by Air National), Air New Zealand Link (operated by Air Nelson), Air New Zealand Link (operated by Eagle Airways), Air New Zealand Link (operated by Mount Cook Airline), Air Pacific, Emirates Airline, Jetstar Airways, Pacific Blue, Jetconnect, Qantas and Singapore Airlines. These airlines fly tourists to and from various parts of New Zealand and to and from other countries as well so you can be sure to find many cheap flights to Christchurch on the market.
The airport is also a base for the Italian and United States Antarctic programs and also the New Zealand Antarctic program. Because of this, the Unites States Air Force, Air National Guard and Royal New Zealand Air Force have been based there as part of Operation Deep Freeze. Other aviation groups also operate in the airport including Garden City Helicopters with its base adjacent to the airport, Christchurch Helicopters at the west side of the airport, and the Canterbury Aero Club.
Christchurch is the largest city of the southern island of New Zealand and has been nicknamed the Garden City due to several public parks and residential gardens including Hagley Park and the 30-hectare Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Ski fields and the beautiful Southern Alps along with a close proximity to hotels, casinos and an airport make it a great stopover for tourists. Christchurch is either the last or the first stop on a New Zealand tour. The city is full of many gardens and wildlife parks, as well as art galleries and boasts of scenic mountain views making it a definite must-see for nature lovers. Budget travelers are also attracted to the city as there are many cheap flights to Christchurch available.