BY JAMES WILKINSON
Following the ACCC approval of its partnership with Virgin Blue, Etihad Airways has announced a code-share agreement with Virgin’s new trans-Tasman partner Air New Zealand in a major boost to inbound and outbound travellers.
The agreement will provide Air New Zealand’s customers with flight options to the Middle East and London, while Etihad’s guests will be able to connect onto the Kiwi flag carrier’s services both across the Tasman and domestically in New Zealand.
“This arrangement with Etihad Airways further extends connectivity options for our customers through to Europe as well as providing opportunities to further grow passenger numbers for our trans-Tasman and domestic services,” said Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Rob Fyfe.
Subject to regulatory approval, the code-share will apply on Etihad’s services between Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Abu Dhabi, along with onward flights to London Heathrow.
Air New Zealand will then feature an Etihad code on: domestic flights between Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown; trans-Tasman services between Sydney and Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Rotorua and Queenstown; trans-Tasman services between Brisbane and Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington; and trans-Tasman services from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to Melbourne.
“This opens up five key destinations in New Zealand that we have been eager to offer to our customers for a long time and we are certain the connections and seamless flight experience offered by Etihad and Air New Zealand will appeal to business and leisure travellers,” said Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan.
According to Air New Zealand, the code-share flights are expected to be on sale from the end of February subject to those governmental regulatory approvals.