The move by the government to negotiate new and improved air
service agreements with countries in South America and Asia has
been praised by Christchurch Airport.
"This is great news for our travel and tourism industries," said
Christchurch Airport CEO Jim Boult. "We are a distant market for
the rest of the world, so we welcome any agreement that makes it
easier for airlines to consider coming to New Zealand."
Inter-government air service agreements need to be in place
before airlines can fly to other countries. In a press statement
this morning, Associate Transport Minister Nathan Guy explained
that New Zealand already has around 48 relationships governed by
similar agreements, and the government wants to see these improved
and the number increased. Negotiations with China, Brazil and up to
eight other countries will begin shortly.
Jim Boult said these agreements would open up opportunities for
airlines and airports and would reinforce New Zealand's free trade
approach. "We need to grow in-bound arrivals and the import/export
market for New Zealand," he said. "I'm delighted at this
news, and trust that new agreements can be made quickly."