Air New Zealand's rugby-themed Airbus A320


Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia have launched their highly-anticipated trans-Tasman alliance, with codeshare flights now on sale for travel from July 26, 2011.

Under the alliance, the carriers have aligned airfare structures, services and onboard product for trans-Tasman flights and connecting domestic services where applicable.

“From July 26, Air New Zealand customers will benefit from Virgin Australia’s extensive domestic network, gaining access to 29 ports around Australia,” said Air New Zealand Group General Manager Australasia Bruce Parton.

“Product consistency is an important part of this alliance and in addition to the joint offering announced today, there will be further improvements to both airlines’ products and services as we move towards an integrated alliance trans-Tasman flight schedule in November.

“We have also worked hard to ensure that the booking process is clear for our customers, spelling out which airline they will be flying on and the inclusions involved,” Parton said.

The alliance also includes reciprocal lounge access for eligible customers, it allows Air New Zealand’s Airpoints and Virgin’s Velocity members to earn and redeem frequent flyer points on each other’s services, and priority seating for top-tier flyers.

“Customers are (now) seeing the first benefits of the new alliance, which we will continue to develop over coming months,” said Virgin Australia Group Executive Commercial Liz Savage.

“From July 26, Virgin Australia customers will have almost three times as many departure times for trans-Tasman travel, as well as new products and services.

“Our dedicated teams continue to work closely on implementing the alliance and from November, our new trans-Tasman alliance network will offer improved connectivity and more convenient flight times across many routes,” she said.