Airways New Zealand will continue to deliver air traffic control services to Niue, Samoa, the Cook Islands, and the Kingdom of Tonga after the contract was re-signed in Christchurch today, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.

“The Pacific Upper Airspace agreement we have with these four countries is a significant part of Airways New Zealand's involvement with the Pacific region, Airways also provides all New Zealand’s air navigation services,” Mr Bridges says.

“Airways is globally renowned and respected for leading innovation and development in the aviation sector, and has provided air traffic control services under the Upper Airspace agreement for the past fifteen years.

“This renewal – for a further five years – continues to strengthen New Zealand’s relationship with these Pacific nations.

“This agreement is also significant for the many thousands of travellers who head to Pacific holiday destinations each year, and for our vibrant and growing Pacifica community in New Zealand.

“The agreement will continue to provide the same high level of safety across the Pacific as we have in New Zealand’s airspace. There are around 11,500 flights per year in our region, and this is only set to increase. Air traffic in the Asia-Pacific region is set to grow to around half of the world’s air travel within 20 years, so having a high level of safety in place is key,” Mr Bridges says.

This agreement complements the work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) in the Pacific region, and in particular the recent Pacific Aeronautical Charting and Procedures (PACP) programme. The programme is implementing satellite-based approach procedures at 38 aerodromes across the Pacific to improve the ability of aircraft to land safely, especially in poor weather.

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