Minister Signs Air Agreement In Dublin

  • Maurice Williamson

A new air services agreement creating more trade and tourism opportunities between Ireland and New Zealand has been signed by Transport Minister Maurice Williamson in Dublin.

Mr Williamson, who is in Ireland on business associated with his Research, Science and Technology portfolio, signed the agreement with Irish Minister for Public Enterprise, Mary O'Rourke.

"The Agreement provides a sound basis for the development of direct air links between Ireland and New Zealand, increasing options for travelers from Ireland to this part of the world."

The Agreement provides for airlines to determine what services they will offer between the two countries. It also enables them to sell seats on other airlines under their own name, including airlines from third countries. This is known as code-sharing.

In addition, individual airlines have the freedom to establish their own prices and to vary those prices without needing the approval of authorities in the other country.

The pricing freedom means that airlines will have the maximum flexibility to offer competitive prices, in line with market conditions.

The agreement also includes opportunities for the airlines of each country to carry domestic passengers and freight between points in the other country.

New Zealand's bilateral air services arrangements with Australia and Brunei are the only others that include similar opportunities.

"The Agreement with Ireland stems from a major thrust in air services negotiations over the past twelve months to create new opportunities and expand existing opportunities in Europe," Mr Williamson said.

Agreements have also been negotiated with Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and the Scandinavian trio of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Priority is also being given to establishing air services relationships with the Netherlands and Italy.

"Creating new relationships and opportunities is a key part of ensuring that the airline and tourism industries are able to respond quickly to changes in market performance," the Minister said.

It is expected that in the short to medium term it will be the code-sharing opportunities afforded by the Agreement with Ireland that will be taken advantage of rather than the operation by an airline of its own aircraft over the entire route.