Christchurch gets Open Skies to assist earthquake recovery

Those skies may look cloudy, but they are beautifully clear for Matthew Findlay, Christchurch Airport’s GM Aeronautical Business Development. The relaxed regime means he is now largely free of bilateral problems and able to negotiate with airlines everywhere. India and Indonesia are top targets.

The great advantage of a policy statement over new legislation is that it is easily understood by ordinary human beings. In this respect the New Zealand government’s just-published International Air Transport Policy Statement is a very clearly-laid out intention to circumvent bilateral logjams and effectively create an ‘Open Skies’ over Christchurch until 2017 to assist with the region’s recovery from the 2010/12 earthquakes.

You can read the 2.5 page statement yourself here although these excerpts cover the basics:

  • We will consider, on a case-by-case basis, granting approval for extra-bilateral services pending the putting into place of new or expanded air services arrangements.
  • Over the five years to June 2017, we will give favourable consideration to authorising operations by foreign airlines into Christchurch ahead of negotiations, to reduce barriers to entry as the region recovers from the 2010-11 earthquakes.
  • A short- and medium-term focus will be on negotiations within East Asia and South America, in line with negotiating mandates already granted by Cabinet.

Meanwhile the policy also says:

  • We will continue to monitor aero-political and commercial developments to assess when a resumption of negotiations with the European Commission might prove desirable.

Christchurch Airport’s CEO, Jim Boult is thrilled: “Any airline can take advantage of this especially supportive policy to bring the world’s travellers here…including new air services from countries where the city was previously hampered, such as Indonesia and India.”


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