Local mechanics are again raising their concerns as they continue to wait months for their air freight. They are calling on the government to do something about this because these delays are affecting their business cashflow.
One of the mechanics Willie Saniteli told BCN news that on several occasions their freight was offloaded by Air New Zealand. The issue is not new, the same issue was raised by another mechanic and common roll politician Terry Coe in May this year.
Mr. Saniteli says that businesses like his don’t receive the government’s wage subsidies so when they don’t receive their air freight, they won’t be able to complete their work and will ultimately affect their cash flow.
The issues over freight capacity on Air New Zealand’s weekly flights have been an ongoing issue for local businesses according to Chamber of Commerce CEO Catherine Papani.
Despite taking these concerns to government officials, the Chamber of Commerce was not involved in the negotiations of the Air Services Agreement (ASA) where they had hoped these issues will be addressed.
“No, we are not included in renegotiating the ASA but we have raised this issue way back and we with several businesses had a meeting with Transport in relation to these issues,” says Catherine Papani.
BCN News contacted Air New Zealand earlier this week and received the same response they send in May from their Global Sales Manager for Cargo Alex Larsen, saying that their response remains the same.
Alex Larsen said that “The freight market has changed considerably over the past year due to Covid-19, with 95% of international capacity cancelled globally. We’re proud to be able to operate an A320 once a week into Niue, which is an important link for Niueans.
“What cargo is uplifted is typically determined by which product is booked by the shippers freight forwarder.
However, there have been some instances lately where medical items, which have a high uplift priority, have displaced other cargo types. With limited capacity, we would ask that any urgent goods are flagged as such by the forwarder.”
BCN news contacted the government seeking more information on the Air services agreement with Air NZ and to see if these freight issues were raised and addressed during negotiations but no one seems to know anything about the terms of the Air Services Agreement in relation to freight.
Acting Secretary to Government Gaylene Tasmania said that she was not able to comment at this time as she doesn’t have the relevant information about the air services agreement.