The government will continue to negotiate new air services agreements to provide more access to our key and future trade markets.

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The aviation sector is largely led by the private sector, although some local authorities have an ownership interest in their local airports, and these arrangements are likely to continue.

International trade in air services is vital to supporting growth in the tourism industry — which has more than doubled since 1990 — and trade in goods carried by air. In a global system that dates back to the 1940s, inter-government arrangements must be in place before international airlines can operate scheduled air services. New Zealand already has around 48 such relationships.

Since 1998, ‘open skies’ arrangements have been negotiated with many of New Zealand’s major developed country markets, including Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and Canada.

The government is looking to further remove restrictions within existing arrangements, while at the same time opening up new relationships well ahead of demand, so that airlines and airports can plan with certainty about rights being available and respond with speed to changing market demands. Figure 21 shows growth in visitor arrivals at New Zealand’s ports.

Figure 21 - graph showing visitor arrivals by the millions to New Zealand airports from 1990 to 2010

In particular, the government will give priority to expanding opportunities in the fast-growing economies of South and East Asia, and South America.

The government recognises that enhanced air services between these regions has led to the potential for Auckland Airport to play a greater role as a stopover or transit point between Asia and South America. New technology, including ultra-long-range aircraft, is expected to be well suited to developing such air routes in the future. For example, at the time of publication the Boeing 787 is about to enter service after a long development process and Air New Zealand has this aircraft on order.

The government will also play its role to ensure links between domestic and international transport at airports are as efficient and effective as possible. Our airports are responsible for moving 0.2 million tonnes of exports and imports with a combined value of more than $14 billion each year.

The government is placing an increasing focus on ensuring that all transport Crown entities provide greater value for money. In 2010, value-for-money reviews were initiated for the Civil Aviation Authority and the Aviation Security Service, with follow-up actions to be implemented in 2011/12. The government will continue to initiate this type of review as part of a regular programme over the coming decade to ensure that the Civil Aviation Authority and the Aviation Security Service continue to improve their performance and value for money over time.

The government expects that better and smarter services will be delivered by air transport agencies. Alongside that, the government will reduce the regulatory burden with the aim of improving operational efficiencies of transport Crown entities and reducing private sector compliance costs.

A review of the Aviation Security Service’s passenger security charges has reduced the cost of international and domestic air transport. On 1 April 2010, the international passenger security charge was reduced from $15 to $10 (GST inclusive), and the domestic passenger security charge reduced from $4.66 to $4.35. Further reductions from 1 July 2011 saw the international passenger security charge further reduce to $8 per departing international passenger, and the domestic charge reduce to $3.70 per departing domestic passenger (GST inclusive).

The aviation sector operates at much higher and internationally-aligned safety and security standards than is possible on our roads. However, the government is not complacent, and will continue to implement changes to our aviation rules to keep New Zealand requirements aligned with international safety and security standards where that is appropriate and in New Zealand’s interests.

The government will shortly introduce new rules for the adventure and agricultural aviation sectors to improve operating standards and regulatory oversight.

Technology changes in air transport and its related infrastructure are driving major advances in efficiency and productivity. The government will work to ensure the aviation regulatory regime adapts to this change in a way that enables high standards of safety and security to be delivered, while ensuring that compliance costs are fully justified. The government will also keep key aviation legislation under review to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the aviation system, remove unnecessary regulatory interventions and address any aviation market barriers to trade.

National Airspace Policy

The aviation regulatory regime will adapt to technological changes to maintain our high standards of safety and security, while ensuring compliance costs are fully justified.

Every day, approximately 1,400 flights — including 100 international flights — use New Zealand’s domestic controlled airspace. Worldwide, there is a step-change underway in air navigation and airspace management, principally led by satellite-based navigation systems for aircraft. At the same time, satellite-based air traffic management systems and other new technologies are making ground-based instrument approaches and departures at airports less relevant. En route traffic surveillance by primary or secondary radar also becomes less relevant. Together, these developments — some of which are already implemented in New Zealand — will improve safety and bring operational efficiencies to domestic and international air transport, reducing aircraft fuel consumption and emissions to the benefit of the environment.

Airspace is a finite resource, similar to the radio spectrum, and without appropriate design, classification and management, the air transport system cannot function effectively. There is currently no system-wide policy development and planning to achieve the optimum levels of safety and efficiency offered by the new technologies. Unless this is addressed, there is potential for operational inefficiency, less than optimum safety, and wasted or delayed investment by the aviation sector.

The government will develop a National Airspace Policy, which would be complementary to the National Infrastructure Plan and the GPS 2012. The National Airspace Policy will outline the future direction of airspace design and designation, and the principles that will be followed in decision making on airspace matters. A National Airspace and Air Navigation Plan will be developed to guide the aviation sector regarding future airspace design and the new and emerging technologies for air traffic management systems. The Plan will provide certainty for the sector’s future investments in air navigation and air traffic management equipment acquisitions.

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