Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Peter Shanel Agovaka has signed a revised Air Services Agreement (ASA) with New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Hon. Winston Peters in Honiara.

The Air Services Agreement between Solomon Islands and New Zealand dates back 34 years and revising it will help modernize the Agreement to cater for new realities in the aviation industry and strengthen people-to-people contact and trade between citizens of the two countries.

Minister Agovaka said modernizing the Air Service Agreement will not only make travel easier, but also strengthen tourism, trade, economic exchanges as well as facilitate the movement of Recognized Seasonal Employers (RSE) workers from Solomon Islands to New Zealand.

“This Agreement is not just about enhancing connectivity between our nations; it is about bringing our peoples closer together, fostering economic growth, and creating opportunities for our businesses and communities.

He said as neighbours of the Blue Pacific Continent, Solomon Islands and New Zealand have always supported each other in times of need and continue to build on that foundation with mutual respect and cooperation.

“The Air Services Agreement is a reflection of our shared vision for a brighter future, where the ties that bind us are stronger than ever,” He added.

He then paid tribute to technical officials from both governments and relevant stakeholders who worked tirelessly to bring this revised Agreement to fruition.

The Minister further acknowledged the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, Hon. Winston Peters for co-signing the revised bilateral Air Services Agreement with him.

Negotiations for a revised version of the ASA was held in Honiara on the 20th of July 2023 between Solomon Islands Government Officials and relevant stakeholders of the air service industry and New Zealand officials from the Ministry of Transportation and the New Zealand High Commission in Honiara.

The negotiations culminated in the signing of an MOU and the initialing of an Air Service Agreement between Solomon Islands and New Zealand.

The 1990 ASA was viewed as narrow in its contents and application and does not cater for the modern and new realities of the aviation industry.

The gap then called for a revision of the 1990 ASA to a revised version that is finer tuned to the modern-day changes of the aviation industry. The signing of the new ASA will see an open-air service industry with the expectation of inducing aviation investments into Solomon Islands.

The decision to revise the 1990 ASA was a timely call considering the establishment of a second International Airport for Solomon Islands and the recent developments in the labour mobility sector.



Source: Press Release, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade