Air New Zealand – Air China alliance authorised

  • Simon Bridges

A new strategic alliance between Air New Zealand and Air China will make New Zealand a more attractive destination for Chinese travellers, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.

Air New Zealand and Air China announced the intention to enter this alliance during President Xi’s State visit to New Zealand in November last year.

Mr Bridges signed the authorisation after it received Cabinet approval yesterday, allowing the new service to compete with existing services operated by China Southern, China Eastern and Cathay Pacific.

“This alliance means travellers will be able to access more flights and lower fares between New Zealand and Beijing and Shanghai, ensuring they have access to a greater range of choices.

“In addition to expanding services, the alliance will mean Air China will actively market New Zealand as a visitor destination,” Mr Bridges says.

“China is our second largest tourist market behind Australia, with visitor arrivals due to double in the next five years. Tourists from China recently pushed New Zealand’s annual visitor numbers over the three million mark.

“As well as that, it’s our number one export destination with annual exports reaching $11.3 billion in September 2014.”

Mr Bridges has authorised the alliance for an initial term of five years and four months.

During this period, the airlines will need to demonstrate the alliance has delivered real benefits to consumers and has not adversely impacted on competition in the New Zealand-China market.