In 2014 the Ministry of Transport sought public feedback on the Civil Aviation Act 1990 and Airport Authorities Act 1966 review consultation document. Feedback received will inform advice provided to Cabinet on potential changes to both Acts.

The Civil Aviation Act 1990 establishes the framework for civil aviation safety, security and economic regulation in New Zealand and ensures that New Zealand obligations under international civil aviation agreements are implemented.

The Airport Authorities Act 1966 gives a range of functions and powers to airport authorities to establish and operate airports.

Reason for legislative review

The Acts we reviewed to ensure they are fit for purpose, given the significant changes within the public sector and the aviation environment during the Acts’ lifespans, including:

  • the growth and diversification of the aviation sector over the past 20 years
  • the Government’s priority to improve the quality of regulation, and expectations of the transport sector as a contributor to economic growth
  • the move by the Civil Aviation Authority (external link)  to a more proactive, risk-based approach to aviation regulation and its change programme to improve regulatory quality, service delivery, efficiency and effectiveness
  • the Productivity Commission’s recommendation that, subject to a review of the passenger-specific impacts, the government consider adopting a regime for regulating international air services under the Commerce Act 1986 (external link) .

Findings to date

The Civil Aviation Act 1990 (external link)  is fundamentally sound, however it has been amended a number of times and is now over 20 years old. The review is testing a range of improvements to ensure that its provisions are current and effective, promoting a responsive regulatory system to support a dynamic aviation sector.

The Airports Authorities Act 1966 (external link)  functions well, however the review found that several of the Act’s provisions are redundant, outdated or ambiguous. The review is testing amendments to these provisions to ensure that the Act remains effective for airports and their users.

Next steps

Work on the Civil Aviation Act 1990 and Airport Authorities Act 1966 review continues, following a three-month public consultation period (1 August – 31 October 2014).

The Ministry received 31 submissions in response to the release of the Civil Aviation Act 1990 and Airport Authorities Act 1966 consultation document [PDF, 3.7 MB].

The Ministry also received feedback on the review at four regional engagement sessions hosted during the consultation and at two focus group sessions. The focus groups looked at two specific issues: accident and incident reporting and authorisations of contracts, arrangements and understandings between international airlines.

The Ministry of Transport is considering submissions on the consultation document and developing recommendations to Government for amendments to the current provisions of both Acts.

The Ministry will submit recommendations on changes to both Acts to the Minister of Transport in the middle of 2015. Cabinet will then need to agree on changes to both Acts. If changes are agreed, the Government will introduce a Bill to Parliament.

The Ministry expects to post on its website individual submissions received and a summary of submissions, once the Government has considered recommendations and made final policy decisions.

The Ministry appreciates the feedback received from stakeholders. We are considering all submissions as we prepare advice for the Government. We will contact submitters if we need clarification or further information.

Useful documents

Download the Civil Aviation Act 1990 and Airport Authorities Act 1966 consultation document here [PDF, 3.7 MB]

Read common questions and answers on the review of the Acts here

Read the media statement here

If you have any questions or require more information, please email or contact Bev Driscoll on (04) 439 9061.