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Christchurch Poised to be New Zealand’s Base for Aerospace Innovation

New Zealand Aerospace Hub Christchurch

Christchurch will aim to be New Zealand’s aerospace hub by 2025 under a new strategic plan, according to a recent press release.

The plan, which is commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), details the goals and steps required for the city to become an internationally recognised aerospace centre.

MBIE General Manager, Science, Innovation and International, Peter Crabtree explained that New Zealand is fast becoming a base for aerospace innovation.

The plan, prepared by Deloitte Access Economics, will provide the aerospace sector of Christchurch with a solid basis for industry development.

Boosting the Aerospace Sector

Christchurch is making a significant contribution to the growth of New Zealand’s aerospace sector and MBIE is proactively supporting this growth.

Support is given to the sector because of the high-value jobs it creates; the international investment it attracts; and the many ways in which advancements in aerospace technology have the potential to improve people’s lives.

The five-year plan sets out multiple goals and actions for the local aerospace sector, based on four themes. These are:

  1. Knowledge sharing
  2. Innovation and test-bed capabilities
  3. Pathways to attract and expand businesses
  4. Education and training

Working with the University of Canterbury

Under the plan, actions under each of these themes include working with the University of Canterbury to extend the use of the University’s existing testing facilities.

Together, they will also identify locations in Canterbury for further test facilities, creating a prospectus for aerospace start-ups to enable efficient uptake of the city’s resources, regulatory pre-approval of flight zones, financial incentives for aerospace businesses and scholarship and education programmes.

Why Christchurch?

The plan also acknowledges the well-connected local sector brought together by the Christchurch Aerospace Centre, with more than 200 industry members regularly sharing the latest innovations.

Christchurch Aerospace Centre Chairperson Mark Rocket believes the city is in a good position to deliver on the ambitious 2025 goals.

The city contains the essential elements for success in the aerospace industry.

The well-connected sector spans the breadth of the production process from development and design, testing, prototyping and assembly through to launch and data analytics.

Christchurch is currently a major international gateway to the Antarctic and there is an exciting future pathway ahead where Christchurch could also be a gateway to space.

Future Plans

Aside from supporting aerospace start-ups and using the University’s existing testing facilities, labs and test ranges, there are reportedly strategic aims to investigate the establishment of a Space Research Centre.

This will provide R&D focus and expertise, as well as participate in key space events and conferences.

It will also establish undergraduate and postgraduate programmes to support both aerospace or aeronautical engineering and aerospace science.

Lastly, it will continue to strengthen the relationship between industry and the tertiary sector by establishing aerospace internships and work experience programmes at the University.

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