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NEWS Last modified on July 14, 2011

New Zealand airports welcome route expansion plans

Wellington and Christchurch airports have praised the government’s plans to allow for an increase in the number of international routes and services to the country, which they claim are vital for economic growth.

Wellington and Christchurch airports have praised the government’s plans to allow for an increase in the number of international routes and services to the country, which they claim are vital for economic growth.

The New Zealand government has announced its intention to negotiate new and improved air service agreements with countries in South America and Asia.

These agreements need to be in place before airlines can fly to other countries.

In a press statement this morning, New Zealand’s associate transport minister Nathan Guy said that the country already has around 48 relationships governed by similar agreements, but wants to see these improved and the number of them increased.

He added that negotiations with China, Brazil and up to eight other countries will begin shortly.

Jim Boult, CEO of Christchurch Airport said that these agreements would open up opportunities for airlines and airports and would reinforce New Zealand’s free trade approach.

He said: “We need to grow in-bound arrivals and the import/export market for New Zealand. I’m delighted at this news, and trust that new agreements can be made quickly.”

Meanwhile, Wellington International Airport has also praised the move, which it said is crucial vital to not only to the expansion of the airport but also to the New Zealand economy as a whole.

Steven Fitzgerald, CEO of Wellington Airport, said: “Wellington Airport is targeting long haul services, which will have huge benefits for travellers and the region, and looks forward to working with the government and other partners to make these services a reality.”

Fitzgerald added that a single route to China, such as the route from Guangzhou to Auckland with China Southern Airlines, can bring as much as US$127 million dollars to the New Zealand economy, so it was “crucial that the government’s policy is directed at encouraging expansion.”

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