Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Air New Zealand launch new routes after ending Virgin Australia relationship.

Air New Zealand's relations with Virgin Australia have turned decidedly sour after the New Zealand carrier pulled the plug on the alliance deal that has existed between the two carriers on trans-Tasman services since 2010.

News emerged last week that ANZ was ending its relationship with Virgin Australia from this coming October as well as expanding its trans-Tasman operations with the launch of two new routes - Queenstown to Brisbane four times a week from December and Wellington to Brisbane five times a week. On top of the new services, the carrier is also increasing capacity on its Christchurch - Brisbane route. 

''Ultimately we do believe that we service our customers better in an adjacent market with our own aircraft, our own staff, our own product,'' Cam Wallace Air New Zealand's chief revenue officer said last week at the announcement the tie-up with Virgin Australia would end on 27th October this year.

Mr Wallace confirmed that passengers would be able to continue to use each airlines flights up until the end of October, however, after the 27th ANZ passengers currently booked on a Virgin Australia flight will automatically be rescheduled to an ANZ flight.

The end of the relationship came as a complete surprise to Virgin Australia whose chief executive and managing director John Borghetti said, "We were we thought with a good alliance partner and now we won't be."     

Virgin Australia believes it already has a strong presence in the New Zealand and trans-Tasman market and has confirmed after the 27th October it would continue to enhance its offering to suit both the business and leisure markets. ''Virgin Australia will continue its strong focus on providing competition.'' Mr Borghetti said as well as alluding to further growth of its subsidiary airline, Tigerair which is rapidly building up a fleet of 737 aircraft ''Our willingness and strength is to be as competitive as possible on any route whether it be on the Tasman or anywhere else - we will compete very vigorously.''

A Virgin Australia spokesperson told local media that its sales teams were working with Air New Zealand on what would happen after October, that was on-going, yet ANZ was being deliberately difficult and obtuse. 
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