Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe has used a speech to the National Aviation Press Club in Sydney on September 22 to blast the ACCC’s preliminary decision to oppose its planned trans Tasman alliance with Virgin Blue, labelling the decision as a “threat to our future”, saying that blocking the deal in fact would reduce competition, and see his airline reduce capacity on the market.
“According to its website, the ACCC’s purpose is to promote competition and fair trade in the marketplace to benefit consumers, business and the community,” Fyfe related. “ I don’t know about you, but I find that statement pretty hard to reconcile with the preliminary decision, that I believe puts at risk competition within Australia and across the Tasman.”
Blocking the deal, Fyfe said, would lead to “marginalising” Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue on the trans Tasman. He said approval of the deal would allow the two airlines to provide a “competitive counterbalance” to the Qantas Group’s “increasing Australasian dominance”.
The Air New Zealand boss said his airline had “lost more money more years than its made profits” on the Tasman in recent years, noting fares had been static for much of the past decade, despite fuel prices tripling and airport fees doubling.
Fyfe also used the opportunity of the speech to launch a special ‘All Black’ livery which will be featured on the first of 14 new Airbus A320s due to be handed over to the airline in January, in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, which is being hosted by New Zealand.
“Air New Zealand is crazy about rugby and from February this distinctive new plane will be operating on our main domestic New Zealand routes,” said Fyfe.