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Air NZ buys into VB

written by australianaviation.com.au | January 20, 2011

photo - Seth Jaworski

Air New Zealand has bought at least a five per cent stake in new alliance partner Virgin Blue, as part of plans to buy a 15 per cent stake in Australia’s number 2 airline.

“The investment in Virgin Blue is part of Air New Zealand’s strategy to develop scale and reach in this region,” said Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe on January 20. “The Tasman alliance with Virgin Blue was the first step in this strategy.”

Air New Zealand announced its buy-in plan after reaching the five per cent major shareholder threshold, revealing it has received Foreign Investment Review Board approval to take a 14.9 per cent stake in Virgin Blue. The New Zealand government majority owned airline says it has no plans to make a full takeover offer.

Australian law allows domestic airlines to be 100 per cent foreign owned, but Australian international airlines must be 51 per cent Australian owned. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group remains Virgin Blue’s largest shareholder with a 26 per cent stake.

The news of Air New Zealand’s actions and intentions sent Virgin Blue’s shares 10 per cent higher on January 20, valuing the airline at around $950 million.


The two airlines recently received regulatory approval for their trans Tasman codesharing and revenue sharing alliance.

The move is Air New Zealand’s first Australian airline share investment since its buy into and subsequent acquisition of Ansett a decade ago.

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Comments (3)

  • Brett


    Is it just me or is anyone else getting the feeling of DeJa Vu?…

  • Chris


    Ansett Mk III?

  • Dermott


    Ansett Mk III, I don’t think so. Air New Zealand is a totally different airline these days to what happened in 2001. And Virgin is no Ansett. They don’t have the old aircraft or union issues that Ansett had.

    If there is any airline in Australasia we should be worried about it is Qantas. I see there are now questions about the maintenance of Australia’s VIP transport aircraft. I think this is partly due to Qantas purchasing a lot if not all of their aircraft rather than leasing them. They keep them for too long

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