WELLINGTON, March 15 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand is aiming to strengthen trade and tourism links with countries in Latin America, Africa and Europe with a bundle of new air services agreements.
The government had approved the signing of four new air services agreements with Kenya, Botswana, the Dominican Republic and Guyana and an amended agreement with Italy, Transport Minister Simon Bridges said Wednesday.
"These agreements will further enhance New Zealand's international air connectivity between Africa and the Americas, bringing both trade and tourism benefits," Bridges said in a statement.
The new agreements were negotiated at the International Civil Aviation Negotiation Conference in December 2016.
"Other successful negotiations to expand and enhance air services opportunities were conducted with Belize, Nicaragua and Spain," Bridges said.
New Zealand had also signed an air services agreement with Colombia, which enabled code-sharing between each nation's airlines.
Under the new arrangements, New Zealand and Colombian airlines could operate up to 14 passenger services per week, with no limits on the number of cargo services.
"Strengthening our air links with South America has been a priority since we created new air services opportunities with Argentina in December 2014," Bridges said.
"This signing means New Zealand now has air services agreements with Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay."
New Zealand's approach to liberalizing air services had allowed for an open, competitive market, facilitating increased air traffic, lower air fares and stronger international trade links, he said.
"I expect that further new air services opportunities will be announced during the course of this year," Bridges said.
International visitor arrivals hit a record 3.5 million last year, up 12 percent on 2015.
New Zealand now had 61 air service agreements with other countries and territories, he said.