Air transport policy review underway

  • Gerry Brownlee

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee has released a discussion document on New Zealand’s International Air Transport Policy, proposing changes to benefit the New Zealand economy.

“New Zealand’s international air transport policy sets out the overall framework for how we negotiate and implement air services agreements with other countries and is a vital part of enabling economic growth,” Mr Brownlee said.

“Although good progress has been made in removing barriers to New Zealand’s international air services, it is 14 years since the policy was last reviewed and much has changed in this dynamic sector during this time.”

Under the proposed policy, international airlines would continue to be given opportunities to provide their customers with better access to New Zealand’s key passenger and goods markets, and to global supply chains.

New Zealand would continue to pursue reciprocal open skies agreements, except where it is not in its best interests.  It would recognise the benefit to the country of new or additional services by foreign airlines, while ensuring New Zealand airlines have a fair and equal opportunity to compete.

“This will help develop the economy and increase business and travel opportunities for New Zealanders.”

Mr Brownlee said the policy review also proposes continuing to seek inter-government agreements with liberalised investment criteria, provided certain criteria are met.

The review proposes removing limits on foreign ownership of New Zealand airlines (currently set at 25 per cent ownership by any one foreign airline, or 35 per cent by foreign airlines in total), with the exception of Air New Zealand.

“It is important to note that changes to the ownership of Air New Zealand are not being considered as part of this review,” Mr Brownlee said.

“The government remains committed to holding a majority share in the company and the Kiwi-share controls in Air New Zealand’s constitution will continue to take precedence over any changes to general policy.”

Immediate priorities for negotiating new air services agreements will focus on East Asia and South America.  Successful negotiations have already been completed this year with Japan and China, and are currently underway with Brazil and French Polynesia.

“A broad range of aviation linkages are essential to New Zealand’s economic and social well-being,” Mr Brownlee said.

“Over time, as new airlines enter the New Zealand market, this is likely to lead to more services and cheaper airfares.

“This is a timely review and I encourage all interested parties to make a submission so their views can be heard.”

Submissions on the policy review discussion document, available on the Ministry of Transport’s website,, are due by Monday 18 June.