Philip­pines, New Zealand ink deal on di­rect route to Auck­land

The Freeman - - BUSINESS - (Philstar.com)

MANILA — Newly in­stalled New Zealand Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern of­fi­ci­ated on Tues­day the sign­ing of a new co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment al­low­ing non­stop di­rect flights from Manila to Auck­land.

The 37-year-old Ardern, who is in Manila to at­tend the East Asia Sum­mit, said the non­stop flights will in­ject NZD 13.6 mil­lion (P477 mil­lion) an­nu­ally into the New Zealand econ­omy.

She said the flights, which will com­mence in De­cem­ber, will also "fur­ther en­able our peo­ple and our com­mer­cial links," cit­ing the 23,000 vis­i­tors from the Philip­pines an­nu­ally. The Philip­pines, mean­while, wel­comes around 29,000 vis­i­tors from New Zealand.

She also noted that the Filipino stu­dent pop­u­la­tion of more than 4,0000 in New Zealand is also among the largest.

Jaime Bautista, pres­i­dent of Philip­pine Air­lines, signed the mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with Tourism New Zealand CEO Stephen Eng­land-Hall at a break­fast meet­ing.

Bautista said the high de­mand for di­rect flights to the south Pa­cific is­land na­tion war­ranted a short­ened route.

The flights will re­duce travel time from Manila to Auck­land to 10 hours, while seat ca­pac­ity is in­creased by 60 per­cent. The cur­rent route from the Philip­pines to New Zealand in­cludes a stopover in Cairns, Aus­tralia and would nor­mally take 12 hours.

The flag car­rier will also uti­lize dual class, 254-seater Air­bus A340s for the ser­vice.

The MNL-AKL ser­vice will op­er­ate thrice weekly on Wed­nes­days, Thurs­days and Sun­days start­ing on De­cem­ber 6.

Be­sides the tourism MOU, Ardern also wit­nessed the sign­ing of an agree­ment al­low­ing the shar­ing of data and tech­nol­ogy be­tween the two state weather bu­reaus. Met­ser­vice CEO Peter Len­nox and PAGASA's Deputy Ad­min­is­tra­tor Fla­viana Hi­lario inked the agree­ment.

DECADES OF EN­ERGY

CO­OP­ER­A­TION

Be­fore Ardern, New Zealand Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs rep­re­sented by New Zealand Am­bas­sador to the Philip­pines Am­bas­sador David Stra­chan and Philip­pine En­ergy Sec­re­tary Al­fonso Cusi also re­newed a geother­mal en­ergy agree­ment to push the de­vel­op­ment of re­new­able en­ergy.

New Zealand Trade Com­mis­sioner in Manila, Her­nando Ba­nal, said New Zealand and the Philip­pines have a long his­tory of co­op­er­a­tion and trade, es­pe­cially in the geother­mal sec­tor, which started in the 1970s.

PHILSTAR.COM

New Zealand Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern speaks with a guest af­ter the sign­ing of a tourism agree­ment be­tween two cor­po­ra­tions that would al­low di­rect flights from Manila to Auck­land. Ardern is in Manila for the East Asia Sum­mit and re­lated ASEAN meet­ings.

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