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Air New Zealand-Virgin Blue partnership approved

Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue are now approved by anti-trust regulators at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to enter into the trans-Tasman partnership rejected by that same regulatory body three months ago.  The ACCC had been unhappy with low passenger capacity levels that the two airlines had in mind for certain trans-Tasman routes, according to the BBC today.  And to discourage a level of collusion on price between the two airlines that it (presumably) deemed unfair, the ACCC required that the number of seats available on those routes be increased.  Upon receiving "more information," detailing the exact nature of the partnership, the ACCC signed off on it.

An Air New Zealand-Virgin Blue alliance had been in the works for five years.  "The alliance still requires the approval of the New Zealand Minister of Transport," according to the New Zealand Herald today.

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.  Air New Zealand and its subsidiaries operate 99 aircraft to 53 destinations within Oceania, and on the continents of Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America.  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.

The design on the tail fins of Air New Zealand planes is called a koru.  As of the time of this post, the carrier is the largest airline headquartered in the land of the long white cloud, and the only airline to circumnavigate the world.

Virgin Blue 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.  Virgin Blue and its subsidiaries operate 76 aircraft to 31 destinations within Oceania, and on the continents of Australia, Asia, Africa, and North America.  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 Blue 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 story

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

original stories

Virgin Blue, Air New Zealand get alliance approval (Yahoo Finance)

Air NZ, Virgin Blue alliance approved (New Zealand Herald)

Virgin Blue's deal with Air New Zealand backed (BBC)

ACCC approves Virgin Blue-Air New Zealand alliance (http://atwonline.com)

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Reader Comments (1)


It sets up both airlines for a 2011 attack on Qantas' lucrative Tasman route as well as opening new direct routes between regional centers.


January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBusiness Listings

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