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- Air New Zealand to resume daily Auckland-Singapore flights
- Singapore Airlines to launch Airbus A380 on Singapore-Auckland
Today's approval of a closer tie-up between Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand by the New Zealand Minister of Transport paves the way for the airlines to share flights to the UK, Europe, Africa and Asia via Singapore as part of a strengthened partnership between the two Star Alliance flag-carriers.
Air New Zealand will resume daily flights from Auckland to Singapore’s Changi Airport – a route which the Kiwi carrier closed in 2007 – using one of its upgraded Boeing 777-200 jets.
Passengers will transfer at Singapore to one of SQ’s four daily flights to London or the wealth of Singapore Airlines flights to other destinations in the UK, Europe, South East Asia and Africa. The codeshare agreement will also extend to Singapore Airlines’s regional offshoot SilkAir.
In return, Singapore Airlines will stamp its SQ flight code onto all domestic and selected international Air New Zealand flights.
Auckland gets an A380
The partnership will also see Singapore Airlines’ flagship Airbus A380 appear on the daily Singapore-Auckland route from October 27.
The superjumbo will run as flight SQ285, departing Singapore at 8.50pm to reach Auckland at 11.45am the following day. The return flight SQ286 will be wheels up from Auckland at 1.30pm, arriving in Singapore at 7pm.
A second Singapore-Auckland service which SQ currently operates five days a week will be axed to accommodate the new daily AirNZ flight. Singapore Airlines’ daily Singapore-Christchurch service will continue.
Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong described the alliance as "a genuine win-win partnership, enabling Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand to work together to provide more flight frequency and enhanced travel options to our customers.”
“Air New Zealand is on a positive growth trajectory with a clear focus on Pacific Rim destinations” said Air New Zealand CEO Chris Luxon. “An alliance with Singapore Airlines clearly fits our business objectives of working with the right partners in the right markets to deliver seamless customer journeys."
Members of Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer and Air New Zealand’s Airpoints frequent flyer schemes can already earn and redeem points on each other’s flights – along with enjoying reciprocal access to airport lounges, priority check-in and additional baggage allowances – are both airlines are members of the Star Alliance.
Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand are also major stakeholders in Virgin Australia, holding just under 46% of the airline between them.
AirNZ's alliance strategy
Today's deal has echoes of Air New Zealand’s 2012 tie-up with Cathay Pacific, under which AirNZ passengers fly to Hong Kong and then transfer to a codeshared Cathay Pacific flight to London. That alliance also saw Air New Zealand close its loss-making route between Hong Kong and London.
Such alliances are crucial to Air New Zealand, which like Qantas suffers challenges in being an ‘end-point’ carrier in a market increasingly dominated by airlines with intermediate hubs located in Asia or the Arabian Gulf.
Air New Zealand is also busily ramping up its international fleet, with the new long-range Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner set to debut between Auckland and Sydney on Saturday August 9 2014 before later moving to the Auckland-Perth route.
The airline's CEO Chris Luxon has earmarked the rest of the Dreamliner fleet for flights to Asia, which he describes as “premium leisure travel markets” compared to the “business and leisure” mix of North America.
“For us this aircraft is really perfect for the Asian markets, and it’s perfectly configured with lie-flat business class and our new premium economy” Luxon told Australian Business Traveller earlier this year.
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