Air China and Air New Zealand have signed a statement of intent, paving the way for a strategic alliance.
The strategic alliance remains subject to regulatory approval, but if it goes ahead, it will involve Air China operating a new direct Beijing to Auckland service, in addition to Air New Zealand’s existing Shanghai to Auckland service. An alliance between the two national carriers would also lead to better network connections in both China and New Zealand and increased frequency of flights, the two carriers claim.
Air China is committed to being a global hub carrier, and alliances and partnerships are an important way to expand its international network, says the Chinese airline’s chief executive officer (CEO), Song Zhiyong.
Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon adds that a deeper bilateral agreement between the two airlines would help to facilitate business links between the two countries.
“China remains a challenging market for us to operate to. Working with a strong, well respected home market carrier like Air China would give us a huge opportunity to convert potential growth, while jointly offering the additional capacity to support it”, he says.
The airlines hope to reach an agreement early next year, which can then be filed for regulatory approval.