New Zealand - Brunei Darussalam Air Services Agreement

  • Maurice Williamson

"New Zealand and Brunei Darussalam have signed what is almost certainly the most open air services agreement in the world", the Minister of Transport, Hon Maurice Williamson, announced today.

"We see this agreement as the first of a number that will ultimately allow competition in the industry to flourish," Mr Williamson said.

Signing for Brunei was its Minister of Communications, The Honourable Pehin Dato Haji Zakaria Sulaiman, who is on a two-day visit to New Zealand.

"The Air Services Agreement signed today contains a number of features that go beyond the American model that New Zealand and Brunei have each signed with the USA, as have more than thirty other countries", Mr Williamson said.

Of the additional features, one is the right to establish international passenger airlines in the other country. A Brunei airline, for example, may establish itself in New Zealand and operate services to third countries without the aircraft having to touch Brunei, subject to the necessary rights being obtained from the countries to which the services would operate.

Another of the additional features is the right to carry strictly domestic passengers between points in the other country. Accordingly, a Brunei airline, as an extension of an international service, may carry domestic passengers in New Zealand, a right referred to as cabotage. New Zealand has previously exchanged cabotage rights with Australia. In the absence of cabotage rights with the US, Air New Zealand cannot carry American domestic passengers on its services between Honolulu and Los Angeles, originating in Auckland.

Looking to the future, liberal airline ownership provisions were also agreed. The majority of air services agreements around the world effectively require an airline to be substantially owned by nationals of its home country. As with a number of New Zealand's more recent agreements, however, the Agreement with Brunei allows the airlines of each side the flexibility to access greater amounts of foreign capital.

"With New Zealand in the APEC Chair this year and Brunei in 2000, it is fitting that we are showing the lead in air transport liberalisation and setting the standard for the other 19 economies to work towards. The new Agreement may also provide a model of openness for other countries to consider", Mr Williamson said. "Removing restrictions dating back decades on where and how often airlines may fly is a goal New Zealand has been promoting in a number of international fora."

The new Agreement replaces that signed in 1995, at the time of the State visit to New Zealand by His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei.