Marcos hopes Philippines, New Zealand can restore air links to boost tourism, trade

President Marcos cited the need to restore the air links between the Philippines and New Zealand to increase tourism and trade flows between the two countries. 

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President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. welcomes the new Resident Ambassador-Designate of New Zealand to the Philippines Catherine Rosemary Mcintosh during her presentation of credentials at Malacañan Palace in Manila on May 7, 2024. (Noel B. Pabalate)

During a meeting with new New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines Catherine Rosemary Mcintosh on Tuesday, May 7, Marcos expressed hopes that the two countries’ respective regulators and carriers could discuss the matter.

"Filipinos would love to go to New Zealand. And I do believe that New Zealanders would like to see the Philippines as well,” he said when Mcintosh presented her letter of credence to him in Malacañan.  

“So, I think that’s another area of interest that we should explore and hope to promote in your stay here, ” he added.

The President stressed that both countries should encourage connectivity given the economic transformation the Philippines is trying to do, adding that the government is encouraging accessibility to smaller regional airports. 

He bared building new airports so that flights can go directly to places without passing through Manila, which, he said, is basically full.

“We really are quite full. We need two new airports. We are in the process of building them but for now, I think the way to go is to provide access to the smaller regional airports, which are close to or within the tourist destination,” Marcos said.

“But then there’s the business [passengers] too and we are also trying to decongest Manila,” he added.
Mcintosh, on the other hand, said it would be great to have direct air service from Manila to New Zealand restored, noting the volume of Philippine-bound passengers traveling via Sydney, Australia.

“But a significant proportion of the Sydney to Manila passengers actually comes from New Zealand first. It’s a good proportion that I think we can make it commercially viable,” she said.

Marcos also raised the need for the countries in the Indo-Pacific region to speak together and at the very least come to a clear understanding of their concerns and adherence to the value systems and the international law.