New Zealand-Finland air transport pact signals new freedom of skies

May 23, 2014 10:24 am 

WELLINGTON, May 22 — New Zealand and Finland have signed one of the most liberal air services agreements in the world, New Zealand's Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said Thursday.

The agreement signed at the International Transport Forum Summit in Leipzig, Germany, would set a standard that the New Zealand government hoped to emulate in other international agreements, Brownlee said in a statement from his office.

The agreement included the exchange of cabotage or "eighth freedom" rights that allowed airlines to carry domestic passengers within the territory of the other country.

"Finnair has already applied, and has been approved, to use the new agreement and is now offering code-share services to New Zealand via Hong Kong, with Cathay Pacific operating the Auckland-Hong Kong sector and Finnair operating the Hong Kong-Helsinki sector," Brownlee said.

Negotiations were particularly swift as Finland and New Zealand shared similar views on the regulation of international air transport.

"Our alignment of views means under the agreement there are no restrictions on air transport between, beyond and within the two countries," said Brownlee.

The agreement was one of six approved by the New Zealand government recently, following those with Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, Ethiopia, Togo and Zambia.

In all, New Zealand's Ministry of Transport negotiated 15 new or amended agreements in five days at the 2013 International Civil Aviation Negotiation Conference in Durban, South Africa, in December last year. (PNA/Xinhua)

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