Regional carriers such as Air Niugini and Royal Brunei, as well as established larger players British Airways and China Eastern, stand to benefit from a slice of the $420 million government travel market after winning a place on its air travel services panel.
The four airlines are part of the new 19-airline panel that will be in place for the next five years alongside fellow new inclusions Fiji Airways, Finnair, Garuda Indonesia and LATAM.
They join Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Jetstar, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Regional Express, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Virgin Australia who have retained their place on the list of airlines available for federal government employees to travel on for work-related business.
In terms of alliances oneworld is the most represented with six members, followed by three from Star Alliance and two from Skyteam. Eight are unaffiliated with the three global airline marketing alliances.
Meanwhile, Qantas has partnerships or codeshare arrangements with 10 carriers, including its low-cost unit Jetstar and fellow members of oneworld.
And all three of Virgin’s alliance partners – and major shareholders – Air NZ, Etihad and Singapore Airlines – are also members of the panel.
United was the only carrier from the previous panel not included in the current panel, which was began on May 1.
Another change is the government has not separated the list into domestic and international carriers, as was the case under the previous panel.
Minister for Finance Senator Mathias Cormann said the new panel was expected to reduce travel expenditure while offering more generous baggage allowance, reduced or removed fees and more flexible fare conditions.
The federal government spent about $420 million for domestic and international travel in the 12 months to June 30 2015, with its employees and parliamentarians booking 1.4 million sectors, Senator Cormann said.
The full list of the government’s air travel panel:
• Air New Zealand
• Air Niugini
• British Airways
• Cathay Pacific Airways
• China Eastern Airlines
• Etihad Airways
• Fiji Airways
• Garuda Indonesia
• LATAM Airlines
• Qantas Airways
• Qatar Airways
• Regional Express
• Royal Brunei Airlines
• Singapore Airlines
• Thai Airways
• Virgin Australia