Learn more about the longterm survival of
New Zealand's local airports

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Our mission: Protect local airports

Local airports are the lifeblood of regional and rural New Zealand. They provide crucial access for isolated communities to education, healthcare and trade. They also act as an important alternate to roads in times of natural emergency.

Yet local airports across New Zealand face unprecedented funding pressures. For many of the smallest airports, landing fees from aircraft do not cover the required maintenance and infrastructure upkeep costs. The result is that some of our smallest local governments have to meet the shortfall. This is in contrast to the rest of the developed world, where governments assist regional airports to ensure national social cohesion. 

FlyLocal NZ is campaigning to ensure the long term survival of local airports in New Zealand. It is a single-issue campaign designed to secure bipartisan political support for a package of infrastructure and air service funding.

We have identified 12 airports across the country which face real threat to their existence. we have classified them as non-commercial. Find out if your region is affected. 

FlyLocal NZ is an initiative of the NZ Airports Association

We are calling on the new government to implement a new mechanism by which government could fund a national minimum standard of airport infrastructure, and ensure essential services.

We are calling for a change of approach by central government. 

We are calling for a recognition of the social and economic benefits that airports bring to isolated communities.

We are calling on government to allocate dedicated funding to isolated airports.


We are calling for equality with other forms of transport in the national funding mix.

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Why NZ needs local airports



Airports are more than just transport infrastructure assets.

Communities up and down our country rely on their airports to ensure access to healthcare, education and economic growth opportunities such as tourism. 

They are also crucial parts of our disaster response infrastructure.

Yet our country’s smallest airports are facing unprecedented funding pressures. The level of investment required to maintain minimum safe standards simply cannot be met from commercial revenues. 

Our isolated communities need government help to ensure the survival of our airports and our national aviation connections.

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Runways are needed for airlift after emergencies.

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Social cohesion

Family and social bonds rely on regular air links

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Local businesses need to meet customers in our major cities

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NZ regional towns need connections to the world


Airports create employment and enable tourism


Airports allow routine and emergency medical flights


We need the businesses in each region to be successful, delivering high quality products and services that contribute to the national economy and that generate jobs and good living standards for local people

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 Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment / Hīkina Whakatutuki


Airports face discrimination

All airports face high costs to maintain essential infrastructure like runways, lighting and navigation aids to safe international standards. 

Yet smaller airports cannot recoup these costs from their low traffic volumes.

Unlike in other developed countries, aviation has no access to central government funding to ensure essential air services to regional airports.

In contrast, billions of dollars are allocated each year to New Zealand's road and rail network.


NZ is out of step

Every other OECD country funds regional air transport.

Social cohesion, access to government and medical services are the most frequently cited rationales for market intervention.

In this regard, New Zealand is outside of international norms.

Here is how some other likeminded countries support regional aviation

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The Public Service Obligation scheme offers subsidised monopolies for remote air services. 

In Scotland the use of PSOs has led to major increases in regional air service. Patronage on the route between Inverness on the mainland and the island of Lewis grew by 136% between 1983 and 2006, for example.

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In Australia federal funding is available to remote communities to ensure aviation infrastructure meets the national standard and to subsidise remote routes. 

In Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia, state funds are also available to underwrite air services to communities.

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In the US a direct subsidy applies to remote air services deemed essential to those isolated communities’ survival.

Today there are 163 rural communities across Continental USA eligible for the Essential Air Services route subsidy, with over US$261 million allocated annually by Washington, DC.