This page contains information on air services regulation, licensing and agreements between New Zealand and partner countries.
International air services around the world are governed by bilateral and increasingly multilateral air services agreements between governments.
International air transport policy
The International air transport policy sets the framework for negotiation of air services agreements.
The Ministry has primary responsibility for the conduct of international air services negotiations. Negotiated air rights include:
- routes that can be flown
- capacity (frequency and aircraft types) that may be offered
- how many airlines may operate
- how tariffs are regulated
Open skies agreements permit unrestricted services by the airlines of the countries involved to, from and beyond the others' territories, without prescribing where carriers fly, the number of flights they operate and the prices they charge.
New Zealand has air services agreements with 69 partners as at 31 March 2015.
New Zealand has one multilateral open skies air services agreement, known as the Multilateral Agreement for Liberalisation of Air Transportation (MALIAT). New Zealand was an initial party to the agreement along with Brunei, Chile, Singapore and the United States. The agreement came into force on 21 December 2001. It is the first of its kind in that it is open to accession by other interested economies. Peru joined the MALIAT on 17 May 2002 and withdrew with effect from 15 January 2005. The Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga have also joined (along with Mongolia for cargo only).
New Zealand is the Depository State for the MALIAT, the text of which is available in the English, Spanish and Malay languages from https://maliat.govt.nz/(external link).
If you have any questions about the Agreement email airservices.
The Minister of Transport and his delegates have a role in the regulation of international air carriage competition.
International airlines serving New Zealand on a scheduled basis are required to hold an International Air Service Licence.
Find out about the requirements for obtaining an international airline licence
Airlines wishing to operate commercial non-scheduled (charter) services require the prior authorisation of the Ministry of Transport. No approval is required for ferry flights and non-commercial services.
Find out how to apply for authorisation for an international non-scheduled commercial service
The safety certification of international air services is the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority(external link).
Border agency requirements
All airlines operating services to and from New Zealand need to meet the requirements of the New Zealand border agencies.