Flag carrier Philippine Airlines and Tourism New Zealand on Tuesday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOU) aimed at increasing visit arrivals of Filipinos to New Zealand.
The MOU was signed by PAL president and COO Jaime Bautista and Tourism New Zealand chief executive Stephen England-Hall at the New World Hotel in Makati City.
The signing was witnessed by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
In her remarks, Ardern said she recognized the Philippine contribution to New Zealand's economy.
"The Philippines is New Zealand's 15th largest export market," the New Zealand premier said.
New Zealand's exports to the Philippines are valued at NZ$887 million, 71 percent of which are dairy, followed by wood and paper pulp.
The Philippines’ total exports to New Zealand, on the other hand, amounted to NZ$221 million, primarily fruit and nuts and printing machinery.
The MOU between PAL and Tourism New Zealand aims to increase flight loads and the number of Filipino visitors to New Zealand.
Bautista said the airline will have non-stop flights between Manila and Auckland starting Dec. 6, 2017.
"The establishment of Philippine Airlines direct, non-stop flights between Manila and Auckland from December this year will further enable our people and commercial links," Ardern said.
"Auckland airport has estimated that the new non-stop flight will inject NZ$13.6 million annually into the New Zealand economy," she added.
Two other MOUs were signed by Philippine and New Zealand representatives.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines David Strachan renewed a cooperation agreement on geothermal energy development.
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and its New Zealand counterpart MetService also signed an MOU on technology and exchange of data for world-class weather intelligence reporting and data visualization solutions for the Philippines.
The document was signed by PAGASA Deputy Administrator Flaviana Hilario and MetService chief executive Peter Lennox. — VDS, GMA News