New Zealand and Brazil sign open skies agreement

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New Zealand and Brazil have signed a new open skies agreement, replacing the one signed in 1996.

The new open skies air services agreement removes restrictions on the routes and the number of flights that could be operated between and beyond the two countries.

Gerry Brownlee, transport minister of New Zealand, says: "Travel between New Zealand and Brazil is increasing, with around 10,000 Brazilians visiting New Zealand each year and over 3,000 coming here to study."

"In addition, the agreement also removes potential restrictions on foreign investment in international airlines. It also includes provisions to promote cooperation between civil aviation regulatory authorities, similar to those entered into with China last year," adds Brownlee.

Chilean airline LAN, which operates flights to Auckland, is in the process of merging with Brazilian airline TAM, and the new agreement would allow cooperation between the two airlines to serve New Zealand.

Air New Zealand has publicly expressed interest in operating services to South America in the medium term.