Air New Zealand plots new joint schedule with Virgin Blue, new destinations in Australia

By David Flynn, April 18 2011

Air New Zealand will revise its schedule later this year to remove flight duplication with Virgin Blue by creating “complimentary schedules”, and is also eyeing new destinations rumoured to include Canberra and Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The Kiwi flag-carrier’s new timetable will also boost direct flights between NZ capital Wellington and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Australian Business Traveller discussed the airlines' latest plans with Air New Zealand's Cam Wallace, General Manager Australia.

“We’re targetting the second half of this year to start aggressively moving into our alliance phase” says. "We have project teams in both airlines working to integrate our schedules," Wallace told us.

"The first thing we hope to do is remove what we call ‘wingtip’ flying, where we both take off within half an hour of each other" Wallace explained.

"That doesn’t provide any consumer benefit in terms of choice in the schedule. And we know that schedule and frequency are big drivers for our corporate customers."

"If we both fly to Queenstown on Tuesday and Saturday, for example, it would be highly logical for us to spread those flights out across the week.”

Wallace says that this rationalisation of flights will allow the airline to boost services to other destinations.

“We’ve made undertakings to the ACCC on increased flying, primarily to Wellington from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. I think we’ll have around 117 extra flights per year."

As for new routes to Australia, Wallace admits that “there are a couple under investigation.”

Speculation puts Queensland’s Sunshine Coast on the shortlist along with Canberra, which is being upgraded to international standard and will be ready for international flights from late next year.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


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