Avarua (Cook Islands Television/PINA Nius Online) – Cook Islands Minister for Civil Aviation Dr. Robert Woonton says the Cook Islands will for the first time collect airspace management fees of around $290,000 annually. It follows Cabinet approval for this country to become party to the Agreement for the provision of Air Traffic in the Upper Airspace of certain Pacific states.
The agreement is for a term of five years, and is a cooperative arrangement between Airways Corporation of New Zealand Ltd. (Airways) and the governments of the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, and the Kingdom of Tonga.
“In the past upper airspace fees were collected by Fiji from the South Pacific region, but now with the agreement in place, the management of our airspace will be better administered giving this country its share of the fees,” Minister Woonton said.
Samoa and Tonga have already pulled out of the Nadi flight information region in a major financial blow to Fiji.
Development of a cooperative arrangement for the management of upper airspace in the Pacific region has been a concept at least since 1992. In 1998 Forum Ministers of Civil Aviation mandated the Forum Secretariat to formulate a future airspace arrangement that would give all countries direct involvement in upper airspace provision.
The management of the Cook Islands upper airspace will be looked after by the Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited in Auckland.