Facilitating prosperity: Air New Zealand's economic contribution to Aotearoa

31 January 2023
  • In FY23, Air New Zealand facilitated $26.4 billion in economic activity
  • The airline directly added $2.7 billion to the New Zealand economy
  • The airline enables up to 5.6% of all New Zealand jobs
  • It is the second largest business in terms of contribution to GDP

Air New Zealand has released a study revealing its economic contribution and impact on the New Zealand economy. The report, compiled by Sense Partners, found the national carrier was the second largest economic contributor in the country.

Air New Zealand Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Mat Bolland says the report was compiled in the aftermath of the pandemic to better understand the airline's impact as the economy recovers and grows.

"We kicked off this research project last year to put numbers behind our purpose of connecting New Zealanders with each other and New Zealand with the world. As a remote nation, New Zealand relies on aviation more than almost any other economy to overcome distance to markets, so it is vital for us to understand Air New Zealand's role in our economy."

Providing connectivity

The impact of Air New Zealand comes through the airline's ability to reshape the country's economic geography, domestically and globally.

"The research was a reminder of the challenges New Zealand businesses face being so far away from key markets, with our closest major trading partner, Australia, more than 2,000 km away. In addition – geographically – we are not that small a country, with our 5.1 million population spread over the same distance as from Denmark to Spain, spanning countries that are home to more than 180 million people."

Economic contribution

The report follows Air New Zealand's recovery after several years of pandemic-related losses. In FY23, Air New Zealand returned to profitability, enabling new investment in infrastructure including new aircraft to keep communities connected.

"Our total economic contribution of $2.7 billion in FY23 includes $1.4 billion in wages paid to Air New Zealand staff alone. Air New Zealand's activity for the year facilitated a total of $26.4 billion in economic activity across areas including tourism, exports, and imports which demonstrates the essential role the airline plays in not just connectivity, but also supporting New Zealand's economy," says Mr. Bolland.

The report also outlines that while the airline's contribution marked a return to pre-pandemic levels, Air New Zealand's economic contribution is expected to continue to rise.

Creating employment opportunities

By moving people and cargo, Air New Zealand supports more than 130,000 jobs across Aotearoa. The impact is broad, with Air New Zealand services enabling jobs across tourism, export, and import and an overall 5.6% of jobs across the country.

The report also highlighted Air New Zealand's key role in transporting premium goods. In FY23, Air New Zealand facilitated $3.3 billion worth of export goods. Although aviation offered speed to market for fresh produce, it also offered fast, reliable and secure transportation for high value exports including gold and quartz crystals.

Mitigating aviation emissions

The airline's biggest challenge is reducing its emissions, which will be critical to the ongoing viability of air travel and air freight. This is not easily done given the large distances within the country and with the rest of the world.

"We're acutely aware of the sustainability challenges faced by not only Air New Zealand but the wider aviation industry. We have taken steps toward our decarbonization goal in 2023 but are very conscious there is a lot more work to do to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050," says Mr. Bolland.


Click here for the full report, Facilitating Prosperity: The Economic Contribution of Air New Zealand


Note to editors

Please find key data from the report below

  • Air New Zealand contributed $26.4bn in direct and facilitated economic activity in FY23
  • Its activity supports over 130,000 jobs supported by Air New Zealand (5.6% of jobs)
  • Direct contribution to the economic as $2.7bn FY23
  • $14.6bn in tourism expenditure facilitated by Air New Zealand
  • $3.3bn work of premium goods carried to market by the airline
  • Air New Zealand ranks second in business entities contribution to GDP




Issued by Air New Zealand Communications.

Email: media@airnz.co.nz │Twitter: @AirNZMedia

About Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand's story started in 1940, first taking to the skies between Auckland and Sydney on a flying boat - a Short S30. Known for its warm Kiwi hospitality, today, the airline has 104 operating aircraft ranging from Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A320s to ATRs and Q300s, offering customers comfort in the latest most efficient jets and turboprops. It's a modern fuel-efficient fleet with an average age of 7.3 years. Air New Zealand's global network of passenger and cargo services centres around New Zealand. Pre-Covid, the airline flew more than 17 million passengers every year, with 3,400 flights per week. Air New Zealand was recently named the World's Safest Airline by the Australian rating service AirlineRatings.com, highlighting the airline's laser-focus on safety. Last year, Air New Zealand won Best Corporate Reputation in New Zealand – 8th year in a row.

Air New Zealand has a well-connected domestic business, connecting customers and cargo to 20 different regions around New Zealand. Internationally, the airline has direct flights to major cities across Australia, Asia, the Pacific Islands and the US, and through its strong relationships with alliance partners, offers customers more choice and convenience to connect further afield to hundreds of destinations. Air New Zealand has a particular focus on sustainability and its Sustainability Framework  helps guide the airline's efforts in tackling some of New Zealand's and the world's most complex challenges. Air New Zealand aircraft are proudly identified by its distinct tail livery of the Mangōpare, the Māori symbol of the hammerhead shark which represents strength, tenacity, and resilience.


About Star Alliance

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 18,500 daily flights to 1,321 airports in 193 countries.