Transport Minister, Simon Bridges, says the first air service between the Philippines and New Zealand will provide a valuable connection for tourists and trade in both directions.
From December this year, Philippine Airlines will start operating a service between Manila and Auckland, via Cairns, four times a week.
“This new service is a direct result of an enhanced air services arrangement the Government signed with the Philippines Ambassador, Virginia Benavidez, last year”, Mr Bridges says.
In 2014, around 12,000 Filipinos visited New Zealand and more than 20,000 New Zealand residents travelled to the Philippines.
“The Philippines is an important friend and trading partner for New Zealand. Over 40,000 Filipinos live here and they are making a strong contribution to our economy. The service will make it easier for them to stay in contact with friends and family back home.
“This year is the 40th anniversary of New Zealand’s diplomatic relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), so it is especially appropriate that we welcome a service linking Auckland with another South East Asian capital,” he says.
Mr Bridges says the announcement is another example of the Government’s International Air Transport Policy bringing benefits to New Zealand. Since the policy was implemented in 2012 over 30 new or amended air agreements have been negotiated.