German-based airberlin has added New Zealand to its offline network thanks to new codesharing arrangements with Virgin Australia for trans-Tasman services.
The expanded codeshare agreement covers 10 routes from Australia to five New Zealand destinations, airberlin said in a statement on Wednesday (European time).
The move follows an earlier agreement for airberlin to place its AB airline code on Virgin-operated flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Australian domestic destinations such as Canberra, Hobart, Ayers Rock, Adelaide and the Gold Coast, among others.
“New Zealand is a great destination and our extended relationship with Virgin Australia brings this fascinating country even closer, which is testimony to the excellent partnership the two airlines have enjoyed since 2013,” airberlin chief executive said Stefan Pichler in a statement.
The oneworld alliance member said it would place its AB airline code on Virgin-operated flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland and Christchurch, from Brisbane to Wellington and Dunedin, and from Sydney and Brisbane to Queenstown.
Meanwhile, Virgin codeshares on airberlin-operated flights from Berlin to Cologne, Stockholm and Helsinki, and from Dusseldorf to Hamburg. Virgin also codeshares on airberlin’s services from Abu Dhabi to Dusseldorf and Berlin. The Australian carrier serves Abu Dhabi three times a week from Sydney with its own Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, as well as via codeshares with Etihad Airways. However, Virgin is dropping the route in February 2017 in favour of Airbus A330-200 service between Perth and Abu Dhabi scheduled to commence from June 2017.
Currently, members of Virgin’s Velocity frequent flyer program can earn points on eligible airberlin-operated flights. However, status credits can only be earned on airberlin-operated flights marketed by Virgin, that is, flights booked with a VA flight number.
airberlin is 29 per cent owned by Etihad Airways, which also holds about 21 per cent shareholding of Virgin.