In a sign of their deepening alliance, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand will jointly take about 250 travel agents on what the pair describes as a “journey through Middle Earth”.
The travel familiarisation trip in October will be run in association with Tourism New Zealand, with agents participating in a training workshop in Auckland before heading out on one of 12 different itineraries to choose from. The focus of the trip around New Zealand, where the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series of movies were filmed, will be on activities such as coach touring, North and South Island touring and cycling.
Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia formed an alliance on trans-Tasman routes in 2010. In 2013, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reauthorised the partnership for a further five years to 2018.
As part of the alliance, both airlines to coordinate pricing, schedules and share revenue, as well as codeshare on each other’s services and offer reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, until October 2018.
Together, Air NZ and Virgin operate about 400 trans-Tasman flights each week.