New Air Services Agreement Negotiated With Belgium

  • Maurice Williamson

"A new air services agreement will encourage the development of a largely untapped tourism market," the Minister of Transport, Hon Maurice Williamson, said today.

Opportunities created for the airlines from both countries include: an open route schedule, unlimited capacity and unrestricted code-share rights.

"This agreement creates incentives for airlines to market New Zealand as a destination in the Belgium market. The agreement complements the arrangements concluded last year with the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore," the Minister said

"The number of Belgian visitors to New Zealand has been increasing and the opportunity for code-sharing between Belgium and New Zealand will help in developing this market further.

"Negotiations with countries in Europe are now a major thrust in air services negotiations as the Government seeks to create opportunities to tap into tourism and export markets in countries such as Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Scandinavia, Switzerland and Austria.

"This is in part a response to the Asian economic crisis which has resulted in the collapse of some of our major tourism markets, such as Korea.

"The agreement is the latest manifestation of the long-standing relationship between New Zealand and Belgium stretching back to New Zealanders fighting on the battlefields of Belgium during World War 1," the Minister said.

It is likely the air services agreement will in the short to medium term see code-sharing while the volume of Belgium - New Zealand traffic is increased.

Belgium has agreed to discuss the issue of fifth freedom rights, granting airlines of either country the right to set down or uplift traffic from third countries enroute between the two countries, at a later date.

This air services agreement, which is being applied provisionally in anticipation of its signing, is the first such agreement between New Zealand and Belgium.