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Govt Commitment Needed For Industry Future

October 28, 2005

Government Commitment Needed For Aviation Industry’s Future

Greater Government commitment to aerospace industry initiatives is urgently needed otherwise New Zealand will lose specialist engineering intellectual property and human capital, says the Aviation Industry Association (AIA).

AIA chief executive Irene King said today that unless the country moves quickly, we could lose those valuable skills overseas permanently and find ourselves competing against engineers that New Zealand trained.

That would add to the problems already besetting the industry’s plan to sell New Zealand to the world as a niche specialist in aerospace technology, she said.

The association, which represents all sectors of the aviation industry, is working on an export-led industry development strategy called “Future Flightpath” to significantly improve the annual $750 million New Zealand earns in aviation-related exports.

Ms King said the association wants to progress this initiative by working with the Government, especially New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry of Economic Development.

“As a small, dynamic and technologically advanced country, New Zealand is well placed to participate at a more specialised and sophisticated level in the aerospace industry."

The strategy will provide a wealth of opportunities for our engineering community and others with the specialist skills the industry requires to expand into the future, she said.

It will provide opportunities for flight training providers whose sustainability is being seriously undermined by on-going reductions in the number of students whose training the Government is prepared to contribute funding to.

It will also enable the industry to gain a competitive advantage from using its facilities, capacity, intellectual property and capability to expand on the amount of training, both on-shore and off shore, it provides for foreign crews, ground support and engineering personnel, especially licensed personnel.

It has now urgent that the Government puts more resources and commitment into speeding up the development of a national aviation export strategy and international marketing capability infrastructure, Ms King said.

“Experience shows that vision, political commitment and leadership make the real difference between success and failure.”

Government organisations such as the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation Authority can assist, provided they have the resources to devote to negotiations and agreements in the international aviation regulatory environment, Ms King said.

Many countries have regulations that require companies to get multiple international approvals before exporting to them.

“That raises the risk that countries can use regulations as non-tariff barriers,” she said.
For small to medium businesses, the effort to obtain multiple approvals is often too great a hurdle and, as a result, they do not seek to enter the export market. As a consequence, New Zealand loses export opportunities.

The Civil Aviation Authority and other government agencies are making progress in negotiating agreements but are constrained by a lack of forward integrated planning in conjunction with the wider aviation industry and by the fact that negotiating is a secondary role for them, Ms King said.

The Aviation Industry Association recently participated in a market capability assessment to identify current and future customer bases and look for gaps in the New Zealand aviation industry.

Currently the Industry is awaiting results from this study which should identify companies that complement each other and will classify businesses into three sub categories: aviation engineering; aviation technologies, infrastructure and ground support; and aviation training and services.



Irene King –Chief Executive Aviation Industry Association, appointed at the annual Aviation Industry Association in July

- MA Economics (Otago), MBA (Henley Management College, UK). Nineteen years experience as advocate/lobbyist in the commercial aviation sector, 10 years experience in industrial relations with State Services Commission and Ministry of Agriculture, eight years as member of Council of the Aviation Industry Association, four years as chair of the Air Transport Division.

- 1986-91 Industrial Relations Advocate, Air New Zealand with responsibility for air crew.

- 1990-98 Manager, Government, Bilateral and Regulatory Affairs, Air New Zealand.

- 1998-2001 Manager, Strategic Projects International Airline, Air New Zealand.

- 2001-2005 Manager, Regulatory and Industry Affairs, Air New Zealand.

- 2005- Chief executive, Aviation Industry Association.

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