A joined-up New Zealand-wide strategy is needed to find ways to keep the cost of travelling to New Zealand competitive with other destinations, said BARNZ Executive Director Justin Tighe-Umbers.
Speaking at a panel session at the CAPA Aviation Conference in Auckland today, Mr Tighe-Umbers outlined the cost pressures facing air travellers to New Zealand from across the board. “We are seeing cost increasing across the Board. Spending on infrastructure is needed, other charges are more discretionary”, he said. The cost increases include aviation security, air traffic control and biosecurity charges to airlines and passengers and the newly announced tourist tax. Meanwhile, although airlines support much of the infrastructure investment being undertaken by airports, this investment will flow through to prices.
BARNZ called for recognition that the rising cost base risks making New Zealand uncompetitive. “Given our geographic location, it is already expensive to fly to New Zealand and we cannot be complacent and just expect the tourists to keep on coming here. Let’s not pick their pocket every time they cross the border”, said Mr Tighe-Umbers, “let’s get them coming here and spending instead.” BARNZ is calling for a comprehensive aviation strategy that focuses on keeping New Zealand competitive as an international travel destination. This will include keeping a lid on the cumulative costs of flying to New Zealand and making sure that airport and border services are welcoming and provide a world-class service.
The panel session, including BARNZ President and Air New Zealand Airports GM Roger Gray, was a positive discussion involving senior airline and airport representation. There was consensus that all parties need to work together to deliver a great experience for our visitors and travellers, to make sure that people keep on wanting to visit New Zealand. This includes airlines, airports, border agencies, central government and Airways as the air traffic controller. There is a great opportunity to use technology advances and data sharing across agencies to provide a frictionless travel experience at our airports.