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More details released of Government's $600 million aviation support package

The Government is putting $330 million into air freight to keep essential goods moving across the month-long Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown.

Plane (file image). Source: Thinkstock

Of the Government's $16.3 billion Covid-19 support package, $600 million was set aside as an initial aviation package. 

Details of the first $270 million payment were released last Thursday, which saw funding for airlines to pay passenger-based government charges, Airways (air traffic services) related fees and support due to declining revenue covered for six months. 

The remainder will be used to ensure air freight capacity on key routes is ongoing for the next six months and to deal with "immediate risks and opportunities as they arise in the aviation sector".

Separately, the Government announced it would loan Air New Zealand $900m.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford said they were working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure key air freight channels stay open for high priority goods during the level four lockdown that starts on at 11.59pm on Wednesday. 

"We recognise how important it is to continue the flow of critical imports like medicine, and also support our exporters to ensure New Zealand is well-placed to respond to the recovery when it comes.

"The rest of the world still want our food products like milk and meat," Mr Twyford said. 

"It is critical that part of the economy is able to continue exporting and keep employing New Zealanders during the lock down, maintaining freight services is essential to that."

Airlines are able to make proposals to Government for funding freight capacity on key routes - which also includes the possibility to propose repatriation of Kiwis overseas who may need transport back into New Zealand.