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Govt announces aviation relief package

Transport Minister Phil Twyford today outlined the first tranche of the $600 million aviation sector relief package announced earlier this week as part of the Government’s $12.1 billion COVID-19 economic response.

The initial part of the aviation package aims to secure the operators of New Zealand’s aviation security system, and includes:

– Financial support to airlines to pay passenger-based government charges for the next six months ($163 million) and to cover airways related fees for the next six months ($37 million),

– Any fee rises or pricing reviews from agencies that charge fees at the border (Ministry for Primary Industries, Civil Aviation Authority, Aviation Security Service, Customs, Airways) are put on hold for 12 months,

– Financial support for Airways with in the face of declining revenue ($70 million).

Phil Twyford says the Government recognises airlines and airports are being hit hard by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the package is about helping to keep money in their pocket.

"We are moving quickly to help by stepping in to fund things like traffic control and security screening that the aviation industry normally pay themselves and stopping any increases to fees for the next year. This package will see the Government temporarily fund these services while airlines experience customer decline.

"These first steps are designed to ensure the essentials of the aviation system continue to run, help keep airlines in New Zealand and encourage them to increase services faster during the eventual recovery.

"We are also committing to working with the sector and the CAA to ensure there is no red tape stopping airlines ramping services back up when international conditions improve.

"I’ve been speaking with industry leaders frequently and will continue to be in regular contact to make sure they have the support they need.

"This is just the start and further initiatives will be developed with the sector to keep critical air freight flowing and our airports open," Phil says.

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