The New Zealand Herald
Aviation group: Bubble boon for tour firms and trainers
An aviation group says quarantinefree travel across the Tasman will have the dual benefit of boosting the struggling scenic flight sector and provide more room for trainee pilots.
But Aviation NZ chief executive John Nicholson says the benefits of the bubble will take time to be felt.
Before Covid-19 many general aviation tourism businesses earned 80 per cent of their income from international tourists, with some up to 95 per cent reliant on foreign visitors.
Nicholson also said that with managed isolation and quarantine space freed up by 40 per cent, or 1800 rooms, there should be opportunities for the pilot training industry.
The largest trainer closed its New Zealand operation in February, and the industry has been going backwards with the border closed.
Nicholson said it was hoped that spaces can be allocated to high-value pilot training.
The average international cadet pays around $80,000 a year in tuition fees.
In 2020, the industry earned $51 million in tuition fees from international students, generated $226m in economic activity, mostly in regional New Zealand, employed 380 staff and had an asset value approaching $100m.
Last year, 153 New Zealanders gained commercial pilot licences.
This continued the decline that had been evident since a 2009 high.