Success In Air Services Negotiations With Germany

  • Maurice Williamson

Consumers and New Zealand's tourism industry stand to benefit following success in recent air services negotiations with Germany, the Minister of Transport Hon Maurice Williamson, announced today.

"The opportunities arising from an agreed increase in flight frequencies represents good news for New Zealanders wishing to visit Germany, and for New Zealand companies exporting into Europe," the Minister said.

"Positive spin-offs for our tourism industry are also likely. Germany is the second largest source of European visitor arrivals to New Zealand and the increase in flight frequencies offers the opportunity for a regrowth in German tourist numbers," the Minister said.

More than 46,000 Germans visited in the year ended September 1998, down from a peak of 60,000 in 1994.

Flight frequencies for the airlines of each side, when using their own aircraft, increase from three services per week to five services per week with immediate effect. A further increase to seven services per week will be effective from October next year. Additionally, there are now no restrictions on the number of code-share flights that can be provided, nor on the number of cargo-only services that can be operated.

"Access for New Zealand airlines to more destinations in Germany was also agreed," Mr Williamson said.

"Three destinations in Germany are now available for own-aircraft services, with all other destination points available through code-shared services.

"Previously, only one destination point was available for own-aircraft services, with all other destination points available through code-shared services.

"More flexible fare provisions were agreed. Airlines no longer have to file fares, thereby reducing business compliance costs.

"Fares between New Zealand and Germany can now be set by market conditions, enabling the airlines of each side to respond more quickly with fare initiatives as those conditions change", Mr Williamson said.

"I welcome Germany's agreement to remove a quota restricting Air New Zealand's carriage of Germany-USA and Germany-Australia passengers on its services to and from Frankfurt, to the benefit of Lufthansa's services on those routes.

"The quota was an irritant in our aviation relationship with Germany, and we are pleased to see it gone," the Minister said.

The quota was introduced in 1993 as a condition for allowing Air New Zealand to operate a third weekly service to Frankfurt. The length and seasonal nature of the route between New Zealand and Germany are such that the carriage of US and Australian passengers is important to the sustainability of Air New Zealand's Frankfurt flights.

"Improved air access, including the removal of the quota, has been the subject of discussion with Germany at the highest levels, and was among the matters raised with Chancellor Kohl in the course of his State visit to New Zealand last year," Mr Williamson said.

"The outcome of the negotiations with Germany represents further success for the Government in its strategy of focussing on new and improved air services arrangements in Europe.

"New Zealand's tourism sector should especially benefit.

"Among other things, the new arrangements with Germany also allow for the permanent, rather than temporary, authorisation of Lufthansa's code-share services into Christchurch on Air New Zealand.

"Lufthansa is a founder member of the Star Alliance, and Air New Zealand is looking to join this airline grouping early next year," Mr Williamson said.