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VIRGIN AUSTRALIA: Partnership with Air New Zealand – half way there.

VIRGIN AUSTRALIA: Partnership with Air New Zealand – half way there.

Virgin has received Australian approval to revive its partnership with Air New Zealand. It still awaits approval at the New Zealand end.

The revived partnership across the Tasman, when fully approved, will allow Virgin Velocity members to earn points and status credits on Air New Zealand (AirNZ). The flights will need a Virgin Australia (VA) flight number and run on routes between Australia and New Zealand. Velocity members will also be able to redeem points for AirNZ fights

In May, the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) gave tentative approval. That has now been confirmed for a ‘unilateral trans-Tasman codeshare agreement’ over the next five years. You can download the determination here.

a room with tables and chairs
Virgin Australia Melbourne Lounge 2023 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The other half

Now the ACCC decision is only half of the story. The New Zealand Ministry of Transport still needs to approve the partnership agreement. Until that is done, we won’t have a starting date. So we will need to wait on that decision before the two arilnes can mount any joint marketing campagains on the trans-Tasman routes.

It should also be noted that the ACCC decision excludes routes Virgin Australia is currently running between NZ and Australia. These currently include flights on the airlines Boeing 737 fleet between Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, and holiday and skying destination, Queenstown.

Qantas also has an Air New Zealand codeshare partnership since 2018. It’s restricted to codeshares on domestic flights, and does not cover trans-Tasman routes. The Qantas relationship was formed when AirNZ unexpectedly severed its partnership with the previous incarnation of Virgin Australia, pre-COVID-19, and pre administration sale of the airline to Bain Capital.

a plane on the runway
Air New Zealand

2PAXfly Takeout

This partnership code-share arrangement looks like it will provide more benefit for flyers rather than reducing competition. Virgin Australia Velocigy members will now be able to use their status on AirNZ, and access their lounges when travelling on VA and AirNZ codeshared flights.

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