Strong market passenger growth of 5.2% over the period August 2015 to August 2016 saw Wellington reach the five million mark.
It matches Auckland, the nation's busiest gateway, in achieving the milestone.
Wellington Airport's chief commercial officer, Matt Clarke, said booming international tourism, new flight services, increased airline capacity and Wellington events and activities helped drive the growth.
“Our strongest growth is in Auckland passengers, which is linked to the tourism boom. With more international flights into Auckland, we are seeing more visitors to Wellington connecting from overseas," enthuses Clarke.
“We’re seeing strong regional growth, in particular, Dunedin and Nelson with Jetstar’s new services and additional Sounds Air services. Air New Zealand is also flying larger 50-seater planes into some regional areas.
“We’ve seen significant spikes in passenger numbers around key events such as the Military Tattoo earlier in the year, All Blacks games in Wellington and the Super Rugby final.
“The market is growing strongly. We’re seeing airlines investing in capacity and Wellington Airport is working with all our airline partners to grow the market and stimulate demand to travel.”
The significant domestic growth had come off the back of stellar international passenger number growth in 2015, reaching more than 900,000 over 12 months, an almost 20% increase.
Clarke said the launch of the new Singapore-Canberra-Wellington service on September 21 would also boost growth further.
“Having Singapore Airlines coming into our city will be a game changer for Wellington and for New Zealand as it will supercharge Central New Zealand’s tourism industry," predicts Clarke.
"Wellington will be the gateway to New Zealand for passengers coming in from Canberra and we are already seeing new visitor itineraries on sale around the world with New Zealand adventures starting or ending right here in the Capital.”