Virgin Blue and Air New Zealand have cleared the final regulatory hurdle in gaining approval for their trans Tasman alliance, with New Zealand’s Ministry of Transport approving the deal, following Australian ACCC approval announced last week.
“More sustainable competition, cost savings and the commitment both airlines have made to maintain trans-Tasman passenger numbers will be major benefits of the alliance,” said New Zealand Transport Minister Steven Joyce.
“Travellers will benefit from a wider range of travel options and improved range of departure times, and the continuation of competitive fares.”
According to Minister Joyce the two airlines have agreed to minimum capacity levels for trans Tasman services, including increasing capacity on some routes.
“The decision by the MoT and the ACCC recognises the public benefits that will be delivered by this new alliance in terms of better flight schedules, increased flight frequency and great value for money fares,” Virgin Blue CEO John Borghetti said.
“This marks a key step forward in our company’s strategy of building an international network with global coverage to complement Virgin Blue’s core domestic business.”
The alliance covers a free-sale codeshare on the Tasman and sectors connecting trans Tasman flights, revenue sharing, and reciprocal frequent flyer program and lounge access.