New policy good news for the South Island

Today's new International Air Transport Policy Statement is being described by Christchurch International Airport Limited (CIAL) as a significant change in thinking.

One aspect of the new policy gives favourable consideration to airlines offering new services to and from Christchurch, to assist with the region's recovery from the earthquakes.

"That aspect alone effectively creates 'Open Skies' over Christchurch until 2017 and is invaluable for the South Island," says CIAL Chief Executive Jim Boult. "It's the kind of breakthrough thinking Christchurch needs right now.

"It is a particularly insightful gesture towards assisting Christchurch and the region in its recovery. We look forward to engaging with airlines interested in bringing more travellers to the stunning South Island, via Christchurch Airport," he says

"We are the entry point to the best New Zealand has to offer and it is images of the South Island which lure overseas tourists here. This new policy means any airline can take advantage of this especially supportive policy to bring the world's travellers here.

"We congratulate the Ministry and the Minister on their common sense approach in considering the many submissions from aviation and tourism industry groups, then confirming a policy which puts emphasis on connecting New Zealand to global markets."

Mr Boult says the policy sets a foundation for wider discussions with airlines locally and in long-haul distant markets about services to and from Christchurch, including new air services from countries where the city was previously hampered, such as Indonesia and India.

Chief Executive of the Tourism Industry Association, Martin Snedden, also applauds the new policy.

"This window of opportunity to 2017 in effect provides the South Island with a unique opportunity to get more long-haul air services to Christchurch, to the benefit of all of the South Island tourism operators and the broader visitor economy," he says.

"This is good news for exporters and importers, because it potentially enables better access to wide body aircraft to carry time sensitive, high value or perishable products and goods to market.

Airport CEO Jim Boult says the policy supports on-going discussions between the airport and airlines.

"We are continuing meaningful discussions with several airlines and though these things take time, I remain optimistic of a positive outcome," he says. 

"We are working hard to support the city and region's recovery and this 'out of the box' thinking for Christchurch is testament to new thinking about how to make a real difference."



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