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New Zealand government underwrites cargo routes

written by Adam Thorn | May 4, 2020
Air New Zealand Air bus A321neo ZK-NNA takes off from Cairns Airport. (Andrew Belczacki)
Air New Zealand Air bus A321neo ZK-NNA takes off from Cairns Airport. (Andrew Belczacki)

The New Zealand government is to underwrite cargo routes to Australia, the US, Japan and Hong Kong in a bid to kickstart imports and exports.

Among the first batch of airlines to sign up for the $330 million International Airfreight Capacity agreement are Air New Zealand, China Airlines, Emirates, Freightways Express, Qantas and Tasman Cargo.

The scheme will initially include 56 weekly flights from the country, posted below, and mirrors a similar scheme launched last week across the Tasman in Australia.


Transport Minister Phil Twyford said, “At the beginning of the pandemic, we moved quickly to support charter flights to ensure New Zealand had the crucial supplies it needs and to back our exporters. However, these flights only allowed businesses to export to a limited number of markets.”

Air New Zealand general manager of cargo Rick Nelson hailed the deal but insisted the business hoped to get back to a full commercial footing soon.

“Naturally, we hope the need to operate under an agreement of this nature will be a short-term business model and in time we’ll be able to revert to our traditional model as demand for passenger travel begins to pick up,” he said.

Last week, Australian Aviation reported that a former air vice-marshal with 30 years’ Defence Force experience was appointed to kickstart Australia’s inbound freight including medical supplies.


It came shortly after 15 airlines signed up to utilise a new $110 million “International Freight Assistance Mechanism” (IFAM) initiative, which will initially focus on key markets of China, Japan, Hong Kong and the UAE.

The first airlines and freight companies to sign up are Qantas and Virgin Australia, as well as Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Federal Express, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qatar, CT Freight, Schenker Australia, Kuehne + Nagel, Air Menzies International, Toll and DHL Global Forwarding.

The IFAM will initially focus on restoring critical global supply chains for agriculture and fisheries producers, and will work by partially offsetting the cost of airfreight, reducing airfreight and freight forwarding costs.


China Airlines

  • Auckland – Taipei – Auckland 2


  • Auckland – Melbourne – Dubai – Auckland 3
  • Christchurch – Sydney – Dubai – Christchurch 1


  • Auckland – Melbourne– Auckland 5
  • Auckland – Sydney – Auckland 5

Tasman Cargo

  • Auckland – Sydney – Auckland 1

Air New Zealand

  • Auckland – Shanghai – Auckland 3
  • Auckland – Hong Kong – Auckland 4
  • Auckland – Narita – Auckland 2
  • Auckland – Sydney – Auckland 5
  • Christchurch – Sydney – Christchurch 1
  • Auckland – Melbourne – Auckland 5
  • Christchurch – Melbourne – Christchurch 1
  • Auckland – Brisbane – Auckland 3
  • Auckland – Los Angeles – Auckland 6
  • Auckland – San Francisco – Auckland 2
  • Auckland – Rarotonga – Auckland 1
  • Auckland – Nadi – Auckland 1
  • Auckland – Apia – Auckland 1
  • Auckland – Tonga – Auckland 1
  • Auckland – Niue – Auckland 1


  • Christchurch – Sydney – Christchurch 2

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