Aviation New Zealand Newsletter 19 January, 2024

In This Newsletter:

  • Happy New Year
  • Visa delays jeopardising aviation industry
  • Pilot Survey – we need your support and participation
  • CAA Submission on Aeronautical Integrated Management
  • NZAAA Update
  • District and Regional Plan Update
  • Conference 2024
  • Advertising in 2024
  • Wellington Anniversary

Happy New Year

The team at Aviation New Zealand would like to wish all our members a Happy New Year for 2024. We hope you found time to take a break and meet up with family and friends and trust you are now refreshed, as our team is, to take on the challenges in the year ahead.

Visa delays jeopardising aviation industry

Aviation New Zealand featured prominently in national media last week highlighting Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ) slow visa processing which is having a major impact on the pipeline of international students to our flight training schools.  

Chief Executive Simon Wallace was interviewed by Radio New Zealand and Newstalk ZB on the matter, while the story was also covered by print publications including the Herald and the Otago Daily Times.  

INZ’s slow visa processing times for applications saw less than 100 international students arrive here in 2023, compared to more than 650 in 2020, pre-Covid. What was a $200 million per annum industry in 2020 has seen a dramatic decline. Australia is processing such visas in an average of just 15 days, sometimes in even three to five days, while New Zealand is taking an average of 30 days. Other countries that we compete with for international aviation students have much faster processing times.    

Simon also highlighted Aviation New Zealand’s concerns relating to work rights for international students who unless they enrol in an NZQA Diploma or Degree course cannot work to help fund their studies.  

Aviation New Zealand met with senior INZ officials last week and is continuing to press Immigration and Education Minister Erica Stanford for faster turnaround times for visas as well as policy changes around working rights.  

Other Aviation New Zealand members also featured in media supporting our call, including Jeremy Ford, Brian Paavo and Phil Kean.  

You can tune in to all the media coverage here.   

Visa processing times blocking international student pilots | RNZ 

Delays in international visas see flight school enrolments plummet | RNZ News 

Immigration NZ’s visa processing times jeopardising lucrative flight training industry: Aviation NZ – NZ Herald 

Visa processing times are making NZ “less competitive” (newstalkzb.co.nz) 

‘Ridiculous’ delays threatening flying schools | Otago Daily Times Online News (odt.co.nz) 

Minister seeks urgency for international student pilots (nbr.co.nz) (this is NBR subscriber only).

Pilot Survey – we need your support and participation

As you will know there is a lot of commentary in industry with respect to pilot shortages globally and we are not exempt from these effects in New Zealand. 

It is important we try to understand this anecdotal commentary with an evidence-based approach to backup what we are hearing and you as the industry play an important role in this. 

The attached link will open a survey with questions developed by industry and the Workforce Development Council Ringa Hora to try and paint an accurate picture of the supply/demand of commercial pilots across the country.  

We know there are international issues that have influence on our aviation sector, but we want to look closely at the national environment as a starting point. 

The survey looks at four main areas: 

  • Employers of CPL Fixed Wing pilots 
  • Employers of CPL Rotary pilots 
  • Flight training organisations – CPL Fixed Wing 
  • Flight training organisations – CPL Rotary  

Instructions/ guidance 

  • We are looking for one response per organisation and from someone who can provide some of the technical detail about their workforce (e.g. the ratings and flying hours) alongside the broader judgements in areas like workforce performance and business conditions (e.g. workforce challenges and what kinds of initiatives they’d support).   
  • We don’t ask for specific identifying information and almost all questions are voluntary, so people can respond to as little or much as they are comfortable with sharing. 
  • The only compulsory questions are the ones that divert people to relevant sections (e.g. Fixed Wing training organisations don’t have to answer anything about Rotary). 
  • The survey results once analysed by Ringa Hora (i.e. no longer in raw form) will be shared with interested parties only and all participants and Aviation New Zealand will have access to the results via a website link. 
  • To reiterate, all responses will be treated confidentially, and names of organisations will not be disclosed.  

Finally, we appreciate there may be the odd cross over where a business has both fixed and rotary assets and pilots, you will need to answer for both options separately.   

The Survey Monkey link is below.  


The survey is open until 7 February 2024. 

Note: The CAA is also working with us to send out the survey to ensure operators beyond the Aviation New Zealand membership are included. If you receive an email from CAA, you don’t need to complete the survey from them.   

Any questions on the survey itself should be directed to Allan Moulai at Ringa Hora at Allan.Moulai@ringahora.nz or call 022 014 2860.

CAA Submission on Aeronautical Integrated Management

Aviation New Zealand and its respective divisions are working on a submission to the CAA concerning their contract with Aeropath for the provision of Aeronautical Information Management (AIM). The association will work to ensure that an industry perspective is provided to the CAA once we have consulted with the membership. Submissions close on 28 January 2024.

NZAAA Update

The agricultural aviation activity statistics for Q3 2023 reveal a bleak picture. The data is important so that operators can make informed decisions. CAA reports that some operators are not meeting their statutory obligations to submit operating statistics, so NZAAA is encouraging CAA to pull the levers at their disposal to deal with recidivists. NZAAA members will be able to access the latest data next week when we publish the January NZAAA newsletter.

District and Regional Plan Update

There is plenty going on the District and Regional plan space, and we continue this work on your behalf:

  1. The Mackenzie District Council has notified Plan Change 23 and our pre notification feedback paid off with agricultural aviation activities provided for as a permitted activity without limitations. For commercial helicopter operations (other than ag) activities on conservation land won’t be a problem but there will be some circumstances that would be Restricted Discretionary therefore a resource consent will be required for each job in these circumstances.
  2. The Otago Regional Council has released a consultation document on their LWRP. They have taken on board our feedback for the application of agrichemicals but not for fertilisers.
  3. The Northland Regional Council has released a draft Freshwater Plan change that introduces setbacks for fertiliser application. We still have significant issues with the application of agrichemicals in the operative plan and we are attempting to engage with them on the issues.
  4. The Hutt City Council has released a draft Plan Review that has no provisions for agricultural aviation activities. Commercial helicopters activities are Restricted Discretionary meaning a resource consent will be required for every non-ag job.

Conference 2024

The Conference will return to Te Pae in Christchurch from 25 to 27 August. The feedback from this year’s event supported our decision to take the event back to Canterbury. 

The team is working on the programme, and we certainly welcome any input and ideas from our members to help develop the content and other activity in and around the event.  

The trade area will be expanded in 2024 to accommodate up to 32 exhibitors. While we are yet to finalise pricing, we welcome early expressions of interest from trade exhibitors which can be sent to Chief Executive Simon Wallace at simon.wallace@aviationnz.co.nz 

Advertising in 2024

We wish to advise members that advertising prices will be increasing for 2024. Existing advertisements will continue to be honoured at 2023 prices, but new advertisements will be charged out at 2024 rates. The rates can be found here

Wellington Anniversary Day – 22 January

The Wellington office will be closed on Monday 22 January for Wellington Anniversary Day. You can still contact our two Executive Officers Tony Michelle and Richard Milner who are in Invercargill and Auckland respectively.