Air New Zealand (NZ, Auckland Int'l) has been awarded NZD170 million New Zealand Dollars (USD120 million) in subsidies for international cargo flights as the country remains closed to foreign passenger travel. The support is part of the New Zealand Ministry of Transport's Maintaining International Air Connectivity (MIAC) scheme. The program, touted as a market-led, time-bound measure to maintain air services that are essential for New Zealand’s connectivity, and aims to help the sector recover as quickly as possible, initially started on May 1, 2021, and was due to end on October 31, 2021, but has now been extended till March 31 2022, as part of the second phase of the scheme.

"The objective of the MIAC scheme is to maintain air connectivity. It is not intended to supply all of the capacity demanded by the market. The more freight that is moved outside the MIAC, the more market confidence will be restored, which will drive both increased capacity and increasingly competitive freight rates" according to a statement my the Ministry of Transport.

"Our busy export season runs from November through to March, so it's excellent to see the MIAC financial support scheme extended to cover this five-month period," Air New Zealand general manager for cargo, Anna Palairet, told Stuff New Zealand.

The carrier had an operating revenue of NZD2.5 billion (USD1.767 billion) in FY2021, 48% down compared to the previous year with a loss of NZD411 million (USD289 million). Its cargo revenues were up though 71% compared to last year, thanks in part to New Zealand's and Australia's MIAC, International Air Freight Capacity (IAFC) and International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) set in place during COVID-19.

Currently, Air New Zealand operates forty-two weekly cargo flights abroad with converted B787-9s, making up 70% of the international freighter market from the country making it the biggest recipient of funds. The airline presently serves Los Angeles Int'l, Melbourne Tullamarine, Rarotonga, Seoul Incheon, Shanghai Pudong and Sydney Kingsford Smith.

Other airlines serving the market include Tasman Cargo Airlines (six weekly flights), Qantas (six weekly flights), Fiji Airways (three weekly flights), and Singapore Airlines (three weekly flights) according to ch-aviation capacities from Auckland Int'l and Christchurch.