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New agreements give kiwis better global access

New agreements give kiwis better global access

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says the signing in Auckland this morning of an air services agreement with Sri Lanka is the latest in a string of similar agreements making it easier for New Zealanders to travel and do business internationally.

“This government has a firm commitment to the extension and liberalisation of international air service agreements and has set a cracking pace in seeing them concluded,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Today’s agreement with Sri Lanka is in addition to 14 new or amended air services agreements recently approved by Cabinet.

“These agreements help provide New Zealanders with better access to the world, making it easier to travel and do business internationally.”

The Minister signed today’s agreement extending ‘fifth freedom’ rights alongside Sri Lanka’s Minister of External Affairs, The Hon Professor Gamini Lakshman Peiris.

The agreement will enable airlines to offer flights from New Zealand to Sri Lanka and then on to other destinations, with tickets able to be sold for either or both sectors.

The other 14 agreements approved by Cabinet include new agreements with Finland, Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, Ethiopia, Togo and Zambia.

“Finnair has already applied to use the new agreement to offer code-share services between Finland and New Zealand, as has Ethiopian Airlines under the new agreement with Ethiopia.

“Ethiopia is becoming a travel hub in Africa. New Zealand has an embassy in Addis Ababa, where the African Union is also based.

“This agreement, along with an amendment to our agreement with South Africa, helps pave the way for stronger links in Africa. The amendment with South Africa has doubled passenger capacity to 14 services a week and added capacity for another seven freight services a week.

“The agreement with Saudi Arabia follows the new agreements I announced in June 2013 with the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait. These agreements underpin the government’s Gulf trade strategy. Qatar Airways will shortly begin code-share services.”

Amendments to agreements have also been made with Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden.

The agreement with Hong Kong removed all remaining restrictions on non-stop services between Hong Kong and New Zealand. A memorandum of understanding on code-sharing was also reached with Mongolia.

The 15 agreements were all negotiated by the Ministry of Transport in five days at the 2013 International Civil Aviation Negotiation Conference held in Durban, South Africa in December.

“I look forward to continuing announcements of further agreements – particularly with other countries in South East Asia.

“The government is working quickly to implement its International Air Transport Policy announced in August 2012.

“Since then over 30 new or amended agreements have been negotiated,” Mr Brownlee says.

Ends

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