Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

NZ signs air deal with Greece

Transport Minister Simon Bridges addressing the International Transport Forum. Photo: ITF.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges addressing the International Transport Forum. Photo: ITF.

New Zealand has signed an air services deal with Greece that will allow code share flights between the two countries.

While the agreement doesn't guarantee flights, Transport Minister Simon Bridges said there was a good chance an airline would take up the rights in the medium term.

"Our view is that it has some realistic prospect of actually seeing people to people movement between New Zeland and Greece,'' the minister said in Leipzig, eastern Germany, where he is due to sign the deal early tomorrow.

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"I don't think it is pie in the sky - it's for real and in the medium term it could mean more Kiwis holidaying in the Greek Islands and vice versa.''

Bridges is in Leipzig for the International Transport Forum summit where moves to encourage trade and tourism are being discussed by politicians and business leaders from more than 60 countries.

The agreement meant airlines could co-operate and offer passengers a single ticket involving flights with a number of carriers, the minister said.

The deal allows opportunities for airlines to operate direct services in the future, should they see a market opportunity.

Bridges said he had raised the issue of air services liberalisation with a number of ministers he had met in Leipzig where New Zealand now holds the ITF presidency.

"I think some other countries are frankly scared of the unknown protecting national carriers. That has never been our view.''

OECD Head of tourism unit Alain Dupeyras (corr) said better air links were essential for an isolated country such as New Zealand.

"Air Services agreements will be important to support this.'"

Since the Government launched its International Air Transport Policy in August 2012, more than 40 new or amended agreements have been negotiated.

A deal it signed last year with the Philippines has allowed that country's national carrier to announce services to New Zealand, due to start late this year.

• Grant Bradley is in Leipzig courtesy of the ITF

- NZ Herald

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