This page contains questions and answers on the Aviation Security Service Review.

What services does the Aviation Security Service (Avsec) provide?

Avsec is a Crown agency responsible for providing aviation security services at international and domestic airports servicing aircraft over 90 seats. Avsec is an operational unit of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Its services are regulated by the Director of Civil Aviation, who also oversees the regulatory functions of the CAA.

Avsec screens passengers and their carry-on baggage, screens checked baggage, undertakes patrolling and general aviation security, screens airport workers and manages the Airport Identity Card system for restricted areas.

Most of Avsec’s funding comes from passenger security charges, which are levied on airlines on a per departure basis and generally passed on to passengers in the price of an air ticket.

What do airline passengers think of the services?

A survey of passengers in mid 2013 found 90 percent of passengers were unaware that a passenger security charge was included in their ticket price.

Ninety-seven percent of international passengers considered the time they spent in the screening queue was reasonable, compared with overseas experiences, and rated the service highly.

Why was a review of the Aviation Security Service carried out?

In 2011 a review was initiated after it became apparent that Avsec was accumulating a large surplus. Between 2007 and 2010, Avsec had also experienced large fluctuations in revenue, partly due to fluctuations in the number of airline passengers.

In 2012, decisions were made to reduce the surplus by reducing the passenger security charge to a lower level than was required.

Following this decision, the Minister of Transport agreed to a recommendation by the Board of the CAA that Avsec’s operations be reviewed in two stages.

What did stage one of the review find out and recommend?

The first stage of the review recommended an increase in passenger security charges, from $8.00 to $11.98 per international passenger and from $3.70 to $4.60 per domestic passenger (GST inclusive), from 1 June 2013. The Minister approved this to provide short-term funding relief and to rebuild Avsec’s contingency reserves.

What did stage two of the review find out and recommend?

The second stage of the review analysed Avsec’s business and funding models, the charges review process, and the quality and effectiveness of Avsec’s management. It recommended building a reserve of between $4 million and $12 million, with a target of $10 million by 30 June 2017.

It also recommended that Avsec introduce fees for issuing permanent airport identity cards ($62.45) and temporary cards ($7.95). (Figures include GST.)

And the review identified that gatehouse access control duties were an airport function – not an Avsec one. Avsec will relinquish this function to airports, or carry it out under a third-party arrangement.

What are the passenger security charges from 1 April 2014?

From April 1 the charge will be reduced by 78c from $4.60 per domestic passenger to $3.82, and a further reduction of 11c will be made on 1 April 2015 to $3.71.  A final reduction of 6c will be made on 1 April 2016 to $3.65. International passenger security charges will also decrease, with the current charge of $11.98 per passenger reducing to $11.01 on 1 April 2017.  (All figures include GST.)

Does this mean my ticket price will reduce?

Ticket prices are set independently by airlines. Any change to ticket prices will be a business decision for airlines to make.

What guidance and feedback has been sought?

A steering group consisting of representatives from Avsec, the CAA’s Board and the Ministry of Transport provided guidance and direction for the review. The CAA’s Board has ownership of the review’s recommendations.

Consultation was carried out with an industry reference group that included representatives from Air New Zealand, Jetstar, the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ) and the New Zealand Airports Association. Avsec also published a consultation document and met with industry representatives at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.

Sixteen submissions were received. Airports objected to initial proposals to charge them for specific services including the screening of duty free goods. However, airlines and BARNZ supported the proposed charges to airports.

It was finally decided to transfer responsibilities for gatehouse duties to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports and to allow charging for airport identity cards but not for the screening of duty free goods.


View the Regulatory Impact Statement on the Aviation Security Service Review [PDF, 114 KB].