9 Aug 2010

International air transport policy to be overhauled

2:59 pm on 9 August 2010

The risk to Air New Zealand from the Middle East's burgeoning airline industry is likely to be on the agenda as the Government reviews the country's international air transport policy for the first time in 12 years.

The policy was established in 1985 to liberalise the airways, negotiate agreements that would attract more airlines to New Zealand and open up opportunities to Air New Zealand in return.

It was updated in 1998, and since then the airline industry has been through tumultuous times, including the formation of global airline alliances, volatile fuel prices and the global recession.

Aviation consultant David Stone says one area the review may consider is the potential of more Middle Eastern airlines wishing to fly to New Zealand.

While they add to trans-Tasman competition, he says, airlines like Emirates tend to divert tourists from Europe, rather than greatly expand the number of tourists from their home markets.

However he doubts there will be any move to restrict the number of Middle Eastern airlines.