Aviation provides the only rapid worldwide transportation network, which make it essential for New Zealand to do business with the rest of the world. Aviation creates job, generates economic growth, and facilitates international trade and our largest economic earner, tourism. New Southern Sky is a benefits-led Programme that is set to deliver considerable safety, environmental, economic and social benefit to New Zealand over 20 years (2014 - 2034).

Establishing a Picture of Benefit - What is this worth to New Zealand?

The quantifiable economic benefits to be delivered as a result of the New Southern Sky Programme isare both positive and significant. When considering the benefit to be delivered, the NSS programme has broadly split this into the four benefit classes of safety, environmental, economic and social.

  • Safety - Maintaining safety at the same or higher levels is an absolute priority for the NSS programme, with the shift in the primary means of navigation from ground based systems to GPS leading this.
  • Environmental - Reducing the impact of aviation on the environment is at the forefront of aircraft design and new technologies are constantly challenging the status quo, with new aircraft like the 787 Dreamliner providing airlines with unmatched fuel efficiency, resulting in exceptional environmental performance.
  • Economic - Much attention is paid to the economic side of investment and whether the changes are being driven by commercial imperative or overall system benefit. What the programme has found is that there is a broad cross-section of benefit to be realised to both the commercial sectors of aviation and those wishing to continue to operate privately or as a much smaller commercial entity.
  • Social – As demand for air travel continues to rise, the ability of aviation system to support increased numbers of domestic and international passengers through major airports requires continuous effort. Reliability of service and knowing you will get to your destination as planned is becoming increasingly important.

Where is the benefit derived from?

A Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) report commissioned 2017 to establish a picture of the potential value to the New Zealand aviation system and New Zealand economy through a coordinated change programme. This work was done to build on two previous national level CBA’s in support of the programme, but with the benefit of a much larger data set to support findings.

Data extracted from the Airways ATM system was analysed, and has helped identify some significant efficiency benefit to be realised as a result of the implementation of Performance Based Navigation (PBN), the migration away from older and more expensive radar technologies to Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B), and an upgrade of the existing air traffic management (ATM) platform to SkylineX.

A net present value (NPV) of around NZ$128 million was estimated as a direct result of the changes to aviation system. While the estimated net benefit is deliberately conservative, there are safety, tourism and wider economic benefits which can reasonably be estimated to increase total expected benefits to around NZ$904 million, but these are clearly less robust. 

How does this benefit New Zealand?

New Zealand is a unique environment with varying weather conditions (e.g. rapidly changing) and geographical layout (e.g. mountainous terrain), which poses many challenges for those operating commercially and recreationally. A prime example of this is Queenstown, undoubtedly the preferred playground for many of New Zealand's foreign visitors. Increased accessibility into and out of Queenstown is a key aspect of supporting the ever growing tourism sector which is now New Zealand's biggest industry. With international passenger demand increasing annually at about 5%, further pressure will continue to build to be able to accommodate this demand. By providing greater accessibility into places like Queenstown, both during inclement weather and at night, it provides the wider business community confidence to plan and cater for this demand, stimulating economic growth. 

However, improving access to Queenstown is not the main driver. New Zealand's ability to accommodate increasing demand within the constraints of current key infrastructure such as Auckland airport also has merit. The majority of international passengers land in Auckland and begin their journeys there. While plans exist for a second runway, as announced by Auckland International Airport earlier in 2017, increased predictability of flights through new technologies allow New Zealand's air navigation service provider (Airways NZ) to increase capacity of the system and assist delaying significant investments (such as a second runway) until demand has reached such levels where additional capacity is the right response. 

What other benefits can be drawn?

There are also the social and environmental benefits to be gained. Understanding and planning for future changes in aviation allows better planning for land use around airports to assist managing environmental and social dis-benefits such as carbon emissions and aircraft noise. By the aviation industry working closely with planning authorities and environmental agencies, impacts on the environment can be better managed. PBN ultimately reduces flight times and the chances of being diverted from one airport to another when conditions a less than perfect, reducing carbon emissions per flight and saving the New Zealand economy in terms of missed opportunity, often expressed as passenger value of time (PVT). 

While this is only a brief introduction to the potential benefits New Zealand stands to gain from these step changes in aviation. The following sections will look to expand on this to provide understanding behind the drivers for change. 

Safety benefits

Safety remains the number one priority in aviation above all else. While many of the safety benefits gained are difficult to quantify, analysis has produced some revealing statistics that can be used to provide insight into the safety improvements gained through the delivery of the New Southern Sky Programme. As mentioned above, there are gains to be made in safety through the changes being introduced through the New Southern Sky Programme. 

Click here to find out more about the safety benefits to be delivered by New Southern Sky. 

Environmental benefits

The issue of climate change and industry carbon footprints has continued to be a decisive and controversial globally. However in October 2016 at the 39th ICAO Assembly in Montréal, member states delivered an historic agreement on a new global market-based measure (GMBM) to offset COemissions from international flights and a comprehensive road map for the sustainable future of international aviation. A significant step to wards curbing emissions from the global aviation industry. But what does this means for New Zealand and how will this be achieved? Much of the change to be delivered by the New Southern Sky Programme will begin to enable New Zealand's aviation industry to begin striving for these ambitious targets. 

Click here to find out more about the environmental benefits to be delivered by New Southern Sky.

Economic benefits

Estimating economic benefit of major change initiatives can be like looking into a crystal ball at times, but in the case of the New Southern Sky Programme, there are real quantifiable and evidence-based benefits to be gained. As mentioned above, the direct economic benefit or net present value (NPV) is around NZ$128 million dollars through the changes being made within the system. This doesn't come in the form of direct revenue, but through efficiencies gained within the system. Estimating the wider economic impact is more difficult to achieve but can be estimated with the use of proxy's and assumptions, but are less robust. 

Click here to find out more about the economic benefits to be delivered by New Southern Sky.

What's been happening

News and Updates

4 Apr 2024

New Southern Sky Stakeholders’ Showcase recap

The New Southern Sky Stakeholders’ Showcase was held on Thursday, March 21 in We…

ADS-B Grant Scheme is ending on 30th June 2023

Countdown until the end of the ADS-B Grant Scheme. This is the confirmed end of the scheme. Apply now or risk losing out, the clock is ticking.