New Zealand signs off Qantas-Emirates tie-up

2013-05-15 08:52

Wellington - New Zealand on Wednesday gave the green light to an alliance between Qantas and Emirates, saying it will increase competition on the busy trans-Tasman route between Australia and New Zealand.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said he had no objection to a deal, unveiled earlier this year, allowing the airlines to cooperate on passenger and cargo operations for an initial period of five years.

"There will be more sustainable competition and cost savings as a result of the alliance, as well as a commitment that the two airline applicants will maintain the number of seats that are operated across the Tasman," he said.

"This should allow the low fares that passengers enjoy to be maintained."

Brownlee said the link-up, which has already been approved by Australia's competition watchdog, was likely to boost tourist numbers to Wellington and Queenstown.

The deal will see Qantas switch its hub for European flights from Singapore to Emirates' Dubai base as it attempts to turn around its struggling international business.

The Australian flag carrier and Emirates welcomed Brownlee's decision, with Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce saying it would allow travelers to "connect more seamlessly" over the Tasman.

"This decision means that New Zealand consumers can tap into the lounges, frequent flyer benefits and destinations available under the joint Qantas and Emirates network," he said.

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia already have a trans-Tasman alliance which was established in late 2010 and is set to be reviewed by regulators in Wellington and Canberra later this year.

Read more on:    flights  |  travel international

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