8 Oct 2009

Sale of Skyhawks gains US approval

9:49 am on 8 October 2009

The sale of mothballed New Zealand Air Force planes to a US company has gained final approval in Washington, says Minister of Defence Wayne Mapp.

The $155 million deal to sell the the 17 Skyhawk fighter bombers and 17 Aermacchi jet trainers, following the disbanding of the Air Force strike wing, was announced in principle four years ago.

However the sale to an Arizona-based pilot training company needed approval from the State Department and Congress.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also needed to agree to the purchase, because the ejector seats contain explosives.

Dr Mapp says now that has been given, the company will send staff to New Zealand to check out the aircraft.