Aviation sector ready for take-off with MIAC extension

  • Hon Michael Wood

The Government has extended critical support to the aviation sector through to March 2023 to help rebuild international connections and support New Zealand’s economic recovery, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today.

“As the border opens and passengers return under our Government’s Reconnecting New Zealand plans, the aviation sector is ready for take-off. The Maintaining International Air Connectivity (MIAC) scheme was due to end on 31 March 2022, but we have pushed it out a year to protect our links with the rest of the world and keep trade flowing,” Michael Wood said.

“Even now as we look forward to welcoming overseas visitors back to our shores, the number of passenger flights into New Zealand is only a quarter of pre-COVID levels, and many of those planes still carry few passengers.

“As New Zealand reconnects with the world, we expect to see a significant increase in traveller numbers over the next year. By extending the MIAC scheme we can ensure our aviation sector is well-placed to support this rapid rebound in passenger volumes.

“Since May 2020, MIAC support has enabled more than 12,300 flights carrying over 235,000 tonnes of airfreight with a trade value of $18.8 billion. During the same period, nearly 105,000 people have returned to New Zealand on MIAC supported flights, which amounts to approximately half of all those who’ve passed through MIQ facilities.

“This final extension of the scheme will provide much-needed certainty as passenger travel recovers, ensuring there are regular international flights for travellers and freight. It also means we can continue to grow our export base and get time-critical supplies such as medicines and special equipment into the country quickly.

“MIAC support levels will be scaled-back and ultimately end as international flight frequencies and passenger numbers return to normal. We’ve already been able to end MIAC support on flights to and from the Cook Islands because of quarantine-free travel, and the opening of borders with Australia means that will likely be the next market that will bounce back to pre-COVID levels.

“Our Government has agreed to an additional $250 million to support flights from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023. The Ministry of Transport is working with airlines to confirm the routes and services that will be supported during the extension period. The exact schedule of services under the MIAC extension will be finalised over the coming weeks,” Michael Wood said.

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