Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines have announced a new alliance agreement that will see Air New Zealand operate flights to Singapore for the first time since 2006 and Singapore Airlines operate the A380 to New Zealand for the first time.
Under the agreement an existing daily Singapore Airlines 777-300ER Singapore-Auckland service will be upgraded to A380s, initially on a seasonal basis, while Singapore Airlines’ second, five times weekly Auckland 777-200ER flight will be replaced by a daily Air New Zealand 777-200ER service. With the airlines codesharing on each others’ services the two carriers will be able to offer a double daily Singapore-Auckland schedule which they say means an increase of seat capacity on the Singapore-Auckland market “by up to 30 per cent year round over time”.
Under the deal Air New Zealand will also codeshare on Singapore Airlines’ existing daily Singapore-Christchurch service, and the codeshare alliance will also see Air NZ place its code on Singapore Airlines flights to the UK, Europe, South East Asia and Africa and SilkAir’s regional Asia flights, and Singapore Airlines in turn codesharing on Air New Zealand’s domestic network and to “select” international ports.
The two airlines say the new arrangements would take effect from December 2014, pending approvals from the Competition Commission of Singapore and New Zealand Minister of Transport.
“Air New Zealand is on a positive growth trajectory with a clear focus on Pacific Rim destinations. An alliance with Singapore Airlines clearly fits our business objectives of working with the right partners in the right markets to deliver seamless customer journeys,” Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon said.
Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong, meanwhile, noted: “This alliance is another example of our commitment to the important Southwest Pacific market, and our commitment to the further enhancement of our network. This is a genuine win-win partnership, enabling Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand to work together to provide more flight frequency and enhanced travel options to our customers.”
The tie-up with Singapore Airlines is Air New Zealand’s second codeshare deal with a major Asian airline to be revealed in recent months, after announcing a partnership with Cathay Pacific covering Hong Kong flights last November.
Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines are both members of the Star Alliance, and are both shareholders in, and alliance codeshare partners with, Virgin Australia. Interestingly, Air New Zealand currently offers flights to Singapore via Brisbane connecting on to Etihad Airways Brisbane-Singapore services underline an interline arrangement, which will continue after the Singapore Airlines alliance is formalised. Etihad is the third key airline investor in Virgin Australia.
Air New Zealand previously codeshared on Singapore Airlines services to Singapore through until 2007. Singapore Airlines was also a major shareholder in Air New Zealand at the time of the Ansett collapse (which Air NZ then owned) in 2001. After the New Zealand government recapitalised and effectively renationalised Air New Zealand following the Ansett collapse, Singapore’s stake in the kiwi carrier was diluted to 6.3 per cent. It subsequently sold out of Air New Zealand in 2004.