SYDNEY — Long-time competitors Air New Zealand and Qantas have announced plans for a reciprocal codeshare agreement.
Under the codeshare Qantas will add its code on up to 30 routes on Air New Zealand’s domestic network, while Air New Zealand will add its code on up to 85 routes on Qantas’ domestic network.
Both carriers say the new deal will make travel within Australia and New Zealand easier. Coordination of check-in and handling at airports will mean shorter connection times, opening up more onward flights for passengers on each carrier’s domestic networks and faster journey times overall, say the airlines.
While the two airlines “will continue to compete very strongly across all markets,” the codeshare will see two of the world’s best airlines offer their customers a full service experience when they make domestic connections within New Zealand or Australia, says Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce added that the two national carriers had a lot of shared history as well as a shared goal of making travel easier.
“Our relationship with Air New Zealand goes back almost 80 years. We’ve been partners at various stages over that time and we have a lot of respect for them as a competitor. A codeshare deal on our domestic networks makes sense for customers because it leverages the strengths we each have in our home markets.”
The codeshare and customer offering will exclude Trans-Tasman flights. Qantas will continue to codeshare on all connecting Jetstar New Zealand services.
Tickets for the codeshare services will be available by the end of July, for travel from Oct. 28 onwards.
Virgin Australia has already let it be known that it’s not impressed with the new codeshare deal. According to reports in The Sydney Morning Herald, a spokesperson for Virgin Australia said the codeshare will have knock-on effects for competition on the Tasman, adding “we are surprised that a partnership between the two major airline groups in New Zealand is allowed.”