As per information from the New Zealand Ministry of Transport (NZMOT), the Civil Aviation Act of 1990 is responsible for overseeing New Zealand’s civil aviation system. It establishes a comprehensive framework encompassing aviation safety, security, and economic regulation. The Airport Authorities Act of 1966 empowers airport authorities with various functions and authorities to establish and manage airports. While these Acts have undergone a few amendments, there haven’t been substantial revisions.

Given that both the aviation industry and government regulations have evolved since the inception of these Acts, NZMOT conducted a review in 2014 to ensure their continued relevance. Stakeholders were consulted to gather input, which was then used to draft a new Bill aimed at replacing the existing Acts. This draft Bill underwent a consultation process in 2019. From September 2021 to April 2023, the Bill underwent the parliamentary procedure, including assessment by the Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee.

On 5 April 2023, the Civil Aviation Bill received approval from the Royal and transformed into the Civil Aviation Act of 2023. This new Act is slated to take effect from 5 April 2025.

The upcoming Act introduces a range of changes, such as implementing a fresh registration system for airports, which includes a mandate for airports to seek public input on their spatial plans. For Tier 1 airports, the Bill introduces the concept of Regulatory Airport Spatial Undertakings. Additionally, an independent review process will be established to scrutinize decisions made by the Director of Civil Aviation. The Act also involves formulating regulations and guidance for drug and alcohol management plans, mandatory for certain operators. These plans will encompass random testing for individuals engaged in safety-sensitive roles. NZMOT will also realign the Civil Aviation Rules with the 2023 Act and develop necessary regulations to support the civil aviation regulatory framework.

Over the forthcoming 24 months, NZMOT, in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority, will focus on executing the provisions of the Act.

For more details regarding the content of the Civil Aviation Act of 2023, you can refer to the Parliament website. Specifically, Part 5 of the Act pertains to Aviation Security.

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