Air NZ signs Singapore deal

JOSH MARTIN
Last updated 14:56 16/01/2014
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Air New Zealand has entered an alliance with Singapore airlines which will see the national carrier fly to the Asian hub for the first time since 2006.

Air New Zealand would launch daily services between Auckland and Singapore as early as December this year, using newly refitted Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, and take over five weekly flights currently operated by Singapore Airlines and increasing the frequency to daily.

Singapore Airlines will operate its larger Airbus A380 to New Zealand for the first time as part of the deal.

The A380 would be operated daily between Singapore and Auckland, progressively replacing an existing daily service with the smaller Boeing 777-300ER.

The alliance increases the carriers competing on the route to three, with Qantas-owned budget carrier Jetstar having flown on the route since 2010.

Subject to regulatory approvals, the Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines will aim to boost their existing capacity between New Zealand and Singapore by up to 30 per cent year-round, over time.

Singapore Airlines' daily Singapore-Christchurch service will not be affected by the new alliance.

The alliance will offer daily connections through to Europe, the UK and Africa and forms part of Air New Zealand's expansion-based 'Go Beyond' strategy.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the airline was targeting sustainable, profitable growth throughout the Pacific Rim.

"Air New Zealand is on a positive growth trajectory with a clear focus on Pacific Rim destinations.

"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."

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said the additional capacity was great news for New Zealand's tourism sector.

He said Singapore was a vital hub for Asia, and New Zealand will benefit from the onward capacity that will link New Zealand to worldwide destinations through Singapore.

"This had been a handbrake on the opportunity to grow visitor numbers from South and Southeast Asia. This announcement is a real boost for our new investments in emerging markets like India and Indonesia, with a lot more capacity and great connections from multiple cities right across Asia."

If the partnership is approved by New Zealand and Singaporean regulators, flights could commence as early as December this year.

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