Fairfax Media’s Hamish McNicol reported that tourism has become the country’s biggest export earner, worth $10 billion last year and tipped to surpass $15 billion a year by 2023.
The 3.5 million visitors who come to New Zealand each year is expected to increase to 4.9 million over the same period, driven by Asian markets.
The numbers and forecast behind tourism pipping the dairy industry are clear, but how exactly aviation contributed to that is less so.
Auckland International Airport Chief Executive Adrian Littlewood said it was really important that the importance of aviation in New Zealand doesn’t get underestimated because 99.9 percent of people come here via planes.
“Aviation, for a country like ours that is long, thin, mountainous and difficult to get around, is absolutely crucial,” he said.
“If you think of it like roads of the air, those highways from the US, Asia, Australia, through into here, absolutely enable this tourism growth.”
Tourism is 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), 12 percent of the workforce and 17 percent of GST, the story on Stuff.co.nz reported.
Fairfax Media’s Josh Martin considers the impact of new aircraft, new routes and new stopovers for Kiwi travellers.
Drone messages are not getting through
Grant Bradley of the New Zealand Herald interviewed NZALPA President Tim Robinson about the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) admission that the safety message about risks from drones was not getting through.
Robinson said that working pilots were alarmed at recent near-misses between drones and helicopters in popular tourist destinations and have called for stronger rules covering drones or remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS).
The CAA said it was looking at more “effective and innovative” way of communicating with drone operators.
The New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association says urgent action is needed.
“A review of New Zealand rules is much overdue,” said Robinson.
The organisation had pushed for a revamp of CAA's rules which took effect in 2015.
“Currently they offer little or no protection to either RPAS users or the public. As in Australia, they are woefully inadequate. They neither accurately identify current or emerging risks, nor offer a sound framework for the safe operation of these devices.”
The CAA spokeswoman said there was more policy work going on.
Robinson said the association did not want to inhibit the industry’s ability to develop new technologies and innovate.
“The Government continues to promote New Zealand as a country in which RPAS devices are viewed as innovative and governed by a flexible regulatory framework,” he added.
The associated rules have now been in place since 2015, a time when flexibility was said to suit the rapid development of RPAS.
“These were to be reviewed after 12 months, but we are only just seeing signs of this happening now,” said Robinson.
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Anger in the air – what’s fuelling the rise in unruly passenger behaviour
The New Zealand Herald’s transport reporter Grant Bradley spoke to NZALPA President Tim Robinson and other aviation stakeholders to unveil the growing trend of unruly passengers and the risks they pose to the travelling public.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and has been collecting data since 2007 and 48,000 cases have been reported to 2015. A decade ago there was one case in every 1600 flights but latest figures show the ratio had worsened to one incident per 1200 flights.
That’s a fraction from 100,000 flights every day, and while most are minor such as verbal abuse or failing to follow the instructions of crew, around 10 percent involve some physical violence or act that could endanger all those on board.
Tim Colehan leads IATA’s work on dealing with unruly passengers and says there is no simple explanation for the rise of anger in the air.
Frustration with a flight, such as issues with neighbouring passengers, lack of meal choice, in-flight entertainment or seat, mental health problems, job or relationship issues, being unable to smoke and now use laptops on some flights are among the triggers.
In New Zealand, airlines say they have not seen any increase in problems within cabins although Civil Aviation Authority figures show a spike in incidents last year when it issued 67 infringement notices, up from 43 the year before.
Pilots in New Zealand are also worried about the risks posed by unruly passengers.
New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association (NZALPA) President Tim Robinson said the safety of a perfectly normal flight could suddenly be in jeopardy because of possible violence or harassment from a passenger.
Robinson says that, along with cabin crew, airline staff on the ground play a vital role in preventing violence in the air as the ‘first defence’.
''As such, we would like to see all airlines committed to a programme of zero tolerance for disruptive passengers and provide adequate training and support for their employees in what is, effectively, a security role when required,” he said.
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