Airport welcomes air service negotiations by government

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."