Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand end trans-Tasman alliance

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Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand will part ways this October as AirNZ pulls the plug the airlines’ trans-Tasman alliance.

From October 28, the airlines will cease codesharing on each other’s trans-Tasman flights, and passengers who have already booked a Virgin Australia codeshare flight on Air New Zealand (or vice versa) will be contacted to make new arrangements.

A spokesperson for Virgin Australia told Australian Business Traveller that further details such as airport lounge access and reciprocal recognition of frequent flyer status beyond this date were “still to be worked through”.

Air New Zealand Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace says that “Australia is the largest source of inbound visitors to New Zealand and Air New Zealand has built up a significant presence in this market.”

“This move will enable us to deliver a more consistent customer experience by using our own fleet and delivering an improved schedule, which we’ll provide more details about shortly,” Wallace continued.

The alliance began in 2010 with the airlines partnering on flights between Australia and New Zealand, with regulatory approvals set to expire at the end of October 2018. Neither airline will apply to extend that approval, Air New Zealand has confirmed.

Air New Zealand has been approached for further information, but at the time of writing has yet to reply.

Virgin Australia’s partnership with Air New Zealand has grown increasingly distant over the past years, with other aspects of the tie-up having already been wound back.

As of November 2017, Velocity Frequent Flyer members were no longer able to earn or redeem Velocity points on Air New Zealand’s longer international flights, such as from Auckland to Los Angeles or Houston, nor could status credits be earned or lounge access enjoyed prior to those same flights.

One year prior in November 2016, Virgin Australia passengers were also turfed out of Air New Zealand’s Australian lounges except when travelling to New Zealand, with these travellers reaccommodated across a maze of other lounges instead: including Virgin Australia’s domestic lounge in Melbourne prior to some international flights.

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