PORT VILA: Regional Pacific Island aviation safety and security will be significantly improved with the announcement of a new NZD$9.1 million arrangement over five years between the Government of New Zealand and the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO).
Signed on 8 September 2021, the PASO Support Programme is a five-year New Zealand Aid Programme partnership which provides PASO’s 10 Pacific Island Member States with continued strategic capacity support to improve their international aviation safety and security compliance.
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), Deputy Secretary, Pacific and Development Group, Mr. Jonathan Kings said ultimately improving Pacific aviation safety and security means better connectivity for Pacific people and enables sustainable regional economic development and prosperity.
“Under this new funding arrangement, PASO’s Members will be able to access PASO’s technical support to improve their aviation safety and security systems compliance with international standards and work towards a reliable, safe, and secure Pacific aviation sector,” said Mr. Kings.
The funding will support critical oversight operations, regional policy harmonisation and corporate governance services. It strengthens PASO’s role as the Pacific’s’ regional institution for aviation-related regulatory and policy advice.
Fundamentally, a key outcome is supporting PASO Members’ capacity to increasingly manage their own aviation safety and security oversight and compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) requirements.
PASO’s General Manager, Mr. Andrew Valentine recognised the New Zealand Government’s tremendous support towards strengthening regional aviation safety and security compliance.
“New Zealand’s strategic support strengthens the Pacific aviation environment by supporting and stabilising PASO’s operational service delivery and provides direct benefits for aviation across the Pacific,” Mr. Valentine said.
“Governments of the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu can be confident that PASO can provide them with essential aviation support that contributes to supporting vital air links for our region.”
“This investment is a clear message that New Zealand stands with our Members’ ambitions to improve air connectivity, and for that we are delighted to have this a long-term commitment confirmed,” concluded Mr. Valentine.
The new funding arrangement is a significant increase on the previous three-year funding arrangement for NZD $4.5 million which ended on 30 June 2021.