Air New Zealand, Air China Propose New Alliance
A proposed alliance between Air New Zealand and Air China would introduce a daily direct flight between Auckland and Beijing, opening the tourism floodgates.
Air China would introduce the direct flight and continue to codeshare on Air New Zealand's daily Shanghai-Auckland service, which will be operated exclusively by Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft from August 24.
The deal is subject to regulatory approval.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon said the alliance with Air China would further open up Beijing as a new market to and from New Zealand, and the airlines aim to almost double sustainable capacity between the two countries.
"This proposed alliance brings New Zealand and China closer as our two countries enter the next phase of what is a very strong relationship focused on mutual growth and respect,” he said in a statement. "By connecting the Chinese capital with New Zealand for the first time in three years we would provide tourists and business travellers with unparalleled air connectivity between and within each home market. Airlines play a vital role in facilitating growth through crucial people to people connections and the movement of high value cargo. I am proud to be able to work with our long term Star Alliance partner, Air China, to ensure these important links make commercial sense, are sustainable and are in the interests of consumers and the wider economies."
Air China Chief Executive Officer Song Zhiyong said the relationship between China and New Zealand is entering into a new phase with significant achievements having already been made in economic development and political, as well as cultural, exchanges in recent years.
"We are committed to working with our Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand to provide better air connectivity between China and New Zealand in order to meet the growing demand from travellers in both markets," Zhiyong said. "The proposed alliance with Air New Zealand allows both flag carriers to build a sustainable air service between Beijing and Auckland and supplement the existing connectivity between China and New Zealand. This service, along with Air New Zealand's Shanghai-Auckland service, will provide greater benefits to travellers in both countries in the coming years – an outcome which we will feel very proud of."
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