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Airlines say NZ government air freight funding needs to continue beyond border opening

New Zealand airlines have praised a government decision to extend a subsidy scheme designed to keep air cargo moving. However, they say ongoing financial support will be needed beyond New Zealand’s borders reopening.

Within the $600 million governmental scheme to support the aviation industry through Covid-19, $320 million was allocated towards an international air freight capacity scheme. The scheme, started in May and administered by the Ministry of Transport, provides financial support to carriers to guarantee flights on key international routes continue, allowing goods to continue moving in and out of the country.

With New Zealand’s borders closed and little passenger demand for air travel, cargo capacity (historically provided by passenger aircraft) has plummeted and freight rates have gone through the roof.

Freightways, one of the freight companies participating in the scheme, said when the flow of international passengers stopped the price per kilogram to move freight increased by more than 300 per cent. The scheme not only supports the international movement of air freight, but also ensures people can enter and leave New Zealand.


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