The Civil Aviation Act 2023 comes into effect on 5 April 2025. Nothing changes until then and the aviation sector will continue to operate as it currently does, under the Civil Aviation Act 1990 and Airport Authorities Act 1966, while the implementation work is underway.

This page provides you with the latest updates on the implementation programmes the CAA and Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport are undertaking.

Purpose of the new Act

The new Act updates provisions, and includes new functions, necessary to keep pace with a rapidly changing aviation environment.

Our primary goal remains focused on ensuring that New Zealand maintains a safe and secure civil aviation system. The Act also includes some new objectives that recognise broader economic, environmental, social, and national security factors. While we will consider these additional objectives in our work, our foremost priority is still very much about keeping aviation safe and secure. This remains at the heart of all that we do.

More information about the Civil Aviation Act’s history (including parliamentary bill stages) is available on the Ministry of Transport website(external link).

Implementation date is 5 April 2025

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport are together implementing the Act by 5 April 2025. This involves updating the current rules and regulations to align with the Act and making sure that existing and new statutory powers and functions are authorised and effectively delivered.

The implementation period up to 5 April 2025 gives us the time to update our aviation rules to match the new Act and engage with the aviation sector.

In addition, the drug and alcohol management provisions have a two-year transition period that starts on 5 April 2025, giving until 5 April 2027 for the approval of drug and alcohol management plans.

What’s changing?

While the Act will introduce some changes to help the sector keep better pace with our operating environment, it also recognises that the CAA’s fundamental regulatory underpinnings are sound.  

In most cases, the new Act either continues or improves existing functions. But even when the changes are small, a lot of work is needed to make sure the CAA is ready to operate under the new rules by 5 April 2025. This involves tasks such as updating aviation regulations, ensuring that staff responsibilities are properly assigned and authorised, and implementing any necessary changes to our practices and processes.

The CAA and Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport both have responsibility for implementing the Act. CAA is undertaking five workstreams to implement the Act –

  • Drug and alcohol management
  • Aviation safety
  • Aviation security
  • Legislative and governance
  • Civil Aviation Rules Realignment (a joint workstream with Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport)

Drug and alcohol management

The Act strengthens the management of drug and alcohol-related risks in the commercial aviation sector. It introduces drug and alcohol management plans (DAMPs) for certain compaines and allows the CAA Director to conduct drug and alcohol testing.

Learn more about drug and alcohol management

Aviation safety

The Act introduces new provisions to meet the changing face of aviation. It gives authorities the power to intervene with unmanned aircraft, including the ability to seize and destroy them. The Act also updates the powers of inspectors to align with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. It makes changes to exemptions, including adding new types of exemptions and adjusting the criteria for granting them.

Additionally, the Act enhances the quality and variety of safety information that people report to the Authority. It does this by making incident and accident reporting more robust. It also offers some protections from enforcement actions for individuals who voluntarily report incidents.

Aviation security

The Act introduces several measures to improve security arrangements. These include:

  • Clarifying security officers’ powers, protections and tools.
  • Expanding the aviation security regime to enable short term additional security measures at airports in response to heightened threats.
  • Giving the Minister of Transport the authority to consider national security when dealing with the aviation system.

Learn more about aviation security

Legislative and governance

There are many smaller legislative and governance changes, such as the number of CAA board members, input into Director decisions, spatial plans, CAA records and legal process changes, and corporate administrative arrangements which CAA is responsible for implementing.

Civil Aviation Rules realignment (joint workstream with the Ministry) 

All our existing aviation rules need to be realigned with the new Act. While the new Act offers a smoother certification process during the transition, there is still significant work for the CAA and the Ministry. Much of that work won’t be visible to the sector, but we will keep the sector informed where it has an impact.

Learn more about what the changes mean

1990-2023 Civil Aviation Act comparison guide

CAA has produced a quick reference guide to help industry participants and staff easily identify where the sections you work with in the 1990 Act are now represented in the CA Act 2023 which takes effect on 5 April 2025.

1990-2023 Civil Aviation Act comparison guide

Ministry of Transport workstreams

Both the CAA and Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport are responsible for implementing the Act. The Ministry leads several workstreams:

  • Ministry operations (Ministry and Secretary functions)
  • Establishment of the Independent Review function
  • Offences and penalties regulations
  • Notices (security, Airways)

Ministry operations (Ministry and Secretary functions) 

The Act introduces a modern registration system for airports, replacing the current Airport Authorities process. This includes a requirement called a regulatory airport spatial undertaking (RASU) for some airports.

The Ministry is responsible for:

  • Delivering systems and processes to support RASUs;
  • The airport operator registration regime under the Act;
  • Airport spatial plans and bylaw consultations;
  • A strengthened process for airline alliance authorisations;
  • A strengthened international airline licensing regime; and
  • New Zealand’s participation in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

Establishment of the Independent Review function

The Act introduces a process for aviation participants to seek independent review of Director of Civil Aviation decisions. The Ministry will deliver the regulations to set out reviewable decisions and ensure at least one reviewer has been appointed by the Minister of Transport when the Act commences.

Offences and penalties regulations

Under the new Act, the Civil Aviation (Offences) Regulations 2006 will be remade with necessary changes to align with the new Civil Aviation Rules.

Notices (Security, Airways) 

The Ministry will lead policy work to carry over the settings that currently apply to the provision of Airways and aviation security services. 

Want to receive regular updates?

CAA and the Ministry jointly publish newsletters from time to time, providing updates on the implementation programme. The Ministry administers the sign-ups for the joint newsletter. You can sign up by emailing


Ask your question about the implementation of the Civil Aviation Act 2023. If you're unsure whether your question should be directed to the CAA or Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport, don't worry; we'll make sure it reaches the right place for a prompt response.

Useful links

Civil Aviation Act 2023(external link)

Civil Aviation Act 1990(external link)

Airport Authorities Act 1966(external link)

Ministry of Transport: Civil Aviation Act(external link)