Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia have announced their new-look joint trans-Tasman network, which will connect Air New Zealand’s domestic network of 26 ports to Virgin Australia’s domestic network of 31 domestic ports.
Encompassing a broad codeshare arrangement covering all Tasman sectors and connecting domestic Australian and New Zealand sectors, a revenue share agreement and reciprocal loyalty scheme benefits, the new network will be in effect from the upcoming Northern Winter 2011 schedule (November 2011 – March 2012).
Under the network plan, Air New Zealand will operate approximately 70 per cent of the projected capacity, while Virgin Australia subsidiary Pacific Blue will operate 30 per cent, which the airlines say is relative to their respective trans-Tasman marketshares before their alliance was announced.
“The changes better match capacity to demand and in many instances this means a greater range of flight times by removing ‘wingtip flying’, as well as better connections to domestic Australia and domestic New Zealand flights,” Air New Zealand group general manager Australasia Airline Bruce Parton said.
“Since we received ACCC and MOT approval in December 2010, we have had dedicated teams from both airlines working closely together to optimise the network.
“In addition, as indicated last year, we are actively looking at a couple of potential new trans-Tasman routes which we will likely make a decision on before the end of the year.”
Another key change afoot under the alliance is he alignment of Pacific Blue/Virgin Australia’s trans-Tasman product offering with Air New Zealand’s.
“With plans for the joint network now in place, we are focusing on the launch of our comprehensive product offering in early July,” Virgin Australia group executive commercial Liz Savage said. “We will provide reciprocal Velocity and Airpoints frequent flyer programs and lounge access in Australia and New Zealand, as well as a coordinated offering of inflight products and services, so that guests will receive similar first rate service and benefits, no matter which airline they fly.”
Schedule changes include:
– Brisbane-Wellington – Pacific Blue will operate a double-daily service of morning and afternoon/evening flights;
– Brisbane-Christchurch – the two airlines will operate a combined double-daily service of morning and afternoon/evening flights;
– Queenstown-Sydney – combined five flights a week in peak demand months;
– Wellington-Sydney – Air New Zealand will operate double-daily services of morning and afternoon/evening flights;
– Auckland-Adelaide – Air New Zealand will operate a daily service in the peak summer months;
– Auckland-Cairns – all services will be operated by Air New Zealand;
– Christchurch – capacity on Christchurch markets will be cut by 16 per cent to match a fall in demanding falling the recent earthquake.