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New Air Deal A Boost For The Kiwi Economy

New Zealand’s economy is set for a multi-million dollar boost following an arrangement reached between Japan and New Zealand allowing greater access for each other’s airlines.

Transport Minister Mark Gosche and Tourism Minister Mark Burton, announcing the agreement today, said the deal could be worth around $150 million a year to New Zealand as a result of an expected increase in Japanese tourists.

The deal allows Air New Zealand to have two more B767 services a week to Tokyo, bringing the total to seven a week from mid-2002. Subject to evidence of high demand, it also allows larger B747 aircraft to fly into Japan’s other major international airport at Osaka on two services a week currently operated by smaller B767s.

At present Air New Zealand is the only airline operating non-stop services between New Zealand and Japan.

In total it means that Air New Zealand should be able to increase its New Zealand-Japan seat capacity by nearly 20%, Mr Gosche and Mr Burton said.

“This is great news for the New Zealand tourism industry. The increased services made possible by this agreement are expected to boost Japanese visitors by around 30,000 a year. Those extra tourists are expected to inject approximately $150 million into the New Zealand economy in increased visitor spending alone. That’s in addition to the $100 million in extra revenue expected for Air New Zealand.”

“That $150 million roughly equates with the total value of our highly successful international wine exports. That gives you some idea of the magnitude of this agreement.”

Japan is currently New Zealand’s fourth largest source of overseas visitors. Approximately 150,000 Japanese visit New Zealand each year and they are on average the highest spending visitors to this country."

In recent years New Zealand flights into and out of Tokyo’s Narita Airport have been constrained by a shortage of take off and landing slots at that airport.

The extra flights into Tokyo will begin in May 2002, when a second runway opens at Narita. The second, shorter runway will cater initially for aircraft up to the size of a B767.

The deal also has great potential for exporters. Japan is New Zealand’s third biggest trading partner and an export market that is worth nearly $3 billion to the New Zealand economy. There is an opportunity for that trade relationship to be substantially strengthened by the greater access this deal allows, Mr Gosche and Mr Burton concluded.

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