A representative of the Chinese airline called Air Travel says Air Travel and the Timor-Leste airline, Air Timor, have struck a code-sharing deal for direct flights between Hong Kong and Díli, Lusa reports.

The Portuguese news agency quotes the Air Travel representative, Tony Sum, as saying the airlines may later reach code-sharing agreements for other air services in Southeast Asia.

Mr Sum said that now Air Travel had permission to operate international services, his airline intended to buy a minority stake in Air Timor and make Díli its first base outside China.

The report says Mr Sum met on Friday Air Timor managers, Timor-Leste Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak and Timor-Leste ex-president José Ramos-Horta.

The code-sharing deal may end the isolation of Timor-Leste, Lusa quotes Mr Ramos-Horta as saying.