Future growth in aircraft production is expected to come through the use of innovative materials such as advanced composites – which New Zealand has successfully used for high-performance yachts – and light metal components, assemblies and structures.
Civilian and military ab-initio trainers, short take-off and landing (STOL) utility aircraft, micro-light kits, sports aircraft and gliders are all manufactured in New Zealand.
High quality standards and productivity levels, coupled with intellectual property acquired over many years and moderate OECD-level costs, mean New Zealand’s general aviation manufacturers are internationally competitive.
New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority has close relationships with other aviation regulators and with local industry which helps to shorten the lead times for aircraft-related designs to be certified. FAA and EASA certification support the developing GA industry.
Pacific Aerospace makes a 750XL STOL aircraft in many configurations (passenger, jump, freight and agricultural) with a payload up to 4200lbs, a CT4 trainer enhanced by Raytheon for the modern airforce and the Cresco, which is ideally suited for agricultural use.
New Zealand is also taking a fresh approach to kitset aircraft with the latest development being the Furio composite model designed by Falcomposite. The aircraft is made up of less than 20 structural components, making it faster and easier to assemble than competing kitset models.
The Waikato region, south of Auckland, has a vibrant GA manufacturing industry and Marlborough, at the top of the South Island, is establishing itself as a centre for vintage aircraft restoration.
There is a dynamic charter and scenic flight industry in New Zealand. There can be considerable overlap between both industries.
Charter flight operators service the business and tourist markets and provide charter services on routes that are not part of the commercial route network. This can include charter flights to Australia and the South Pacific. A range of aircraft is available for charter from small jets (e.g. Cessna Citation) through twin engine turbo prop aircraft (Dash 8 and Beech 1900) to smaller fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
Scenic flight operators permit visits to some of New Zealand’s most secret and spectacular locations. These include Milford Sound, Mount Cook, Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, Whale watching in Kaikoura, Rotorua and volcanic attractions in the Bay of Plenty, the Bay of Islands. There are many more wonderful sights.
Scenic Flight Operators are represented by the New Zealand Flight Tourist Operators Group – www.touristflightoperators.co.nz