‘Where there’s competition, it is usually good news for our customers – with likely more flight options and routes available, as well as helping drive prices down,’ he says.
The airlines started the alliance at the end of 2010 to cooperate on services between New Zealand and Australia. Current regulatory approval for the alliance expires at the end of October this year and the parties will not apply for renewal.
Sean Berenson, Flight Centre NZ general manager product, says the market has seen a number of changes on the Tasman route recently with Qantas and Emirates and now the impending change from Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia.
‘This most recent announcement provides an opportunity for our travel experts to showcase their expertise and wade through the changes, product differences and deals to find the best options for their customer,’ he says.
For Air New Zealand, the change has come at the right time.
‘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,’ he says.
Meanwhile, Virgin Australia group chief executive officer and managing director John Borghetti, says this change will provide opportunities for the Virgin Australia Group on the Tasman, including operating both the Virgin Australia and Tigerair Australia brands in the market.
Current trans-Tasman alliance arrangements will remain in place until 27 October and customers travelling before this date will be unaffected.
Customers booked with Air New Zealand to travel on a Virgin Australia service (or vice versa) after 28 October will be contacted by their booking airline.