10 Jul 2009

Speculation on moves by Air NZ over joint venture

8:07 am on 10 July 2009

An aviation analyst says Air New Zealand may re-visit forming a partnership with a US airline if Virgin Blue gains approval to share services in a proposed joint-venture with Delta.

The partnership would allow the two carriers to compete better on routes between the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Virgin says the airlines would sell seats on each other's flights, share frequent flyer programmes and lounge exchange privileges.

Asia Pacific Centre Aviation analyst Peter Harbison says Air New Zealand had a similar code-share agreement with United Airlines and Ansett years ago, but it failed at the time.

He says the joint venture is unlikely to affect ticket prices, given the pressures on airlines due to the economic downturn.

Virgin Blue and Delta will seek approval from the US Department of Transportation and the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.