Entries in trans-Tasman (1)

Tuesday
May172011

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia elaborate on new network

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia have each released information on the trans-Tasman alliance the two airlines worked out late last year.  Currently, Air New Zealand operates 70 percent of all commercial flights across the Tasman Sea, and Virgin Australia (formerly Virgin Blue) operates 30 percent.  That ratio will not change under the new arrangement.  The two airlines are working together on a schedule of times and days (of the week) for the trans-Tasman flights that will optimize convenience for air travelers, and will stay within the terms of the alliance, approved last December by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), and the New Zealand Ministry of Transport (MOT).

Air New Zealand sees four main components of the new alliance.  Those are a trans-Tasman and domestic (for both airlines) codeshare agreement, revenue sharing, reciprocity between the two airlines' respective loyalty programs, and reciprocal lounge access for qualifying travelers on each airline.

Air New Zealand was formed in 1940 as Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL), as a joint venture among the British Overseas Airways Corporation, which held a plurality of the shares; Qantas Airways; the government of New Zealand; and the now defunct New Zealand carrier Union Airways.  The airline was nationalized in 1965, when the government of New Zealand bought all shares.  It was privatized in 1989, and re-nationalized in 2001.  Its headquarters is in Auckland, at a complex colloquially called “The Hub.”  As far as airports are concerned, the airline operates its largest hub at Auckland International Airport (IATA: AKL; ICAO: NZAA).  Its focus cities are the national capital Wellington, the nation's second-largest city Christchurch, and the American city of Los Angeles.

Virgin Australia is the second largest airline based in Australia, behind Qantas.  It was founded in 2000 by the venture capital conglomeration Virgin Group Limited, itself founded by the British venture capitalist Sir Richard Branson.  Its corporate offices are located in the Bowen Hills area of Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city, and capital of the Australian state of Queensland.  Virgin Australia operates its largest hub at Brisbane Airport (IATA: BNE; ICAO: YBBN), and operates secondary hubs at Tullamarine Airport near Melbourne (IATA: MEL; ICAO: YMML), and at Kingsford Smith Airport near Sydney (IATA: SYD; ICAO: YSSY).

related stories

Air New Zealand-Virgin Blue partnership approved (December 16, 2010)

Virgin Blue-Air New Zealand alliance blocked (September 10, 2010)

original stories

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia Airlines Group Announce New-look Joint Network (Air New Zealand)

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia Airlines Announce Joint Network (Virgin Australia)