Air NZ tipped for Singapore deal

Singapore Airlines will today announce that it has signed an alliance with another airline, with speculation centering on Air New Zealand or a Chinese airline as the new bedfellow.

Fresh from sealing a deal to set up a new full-service airline in India as part of a joint venture with the Tata Group, Singapore Airlines is set to reveal a new partner on Thursday morning.

It has left some to speculate that Air New Zealand is a logical bedfellow, especially given Singapore Airlines has struggled to form alliances in China and Taiwan.

Air New Zealand was tight-lipped on Wednesday night, saying it was in regulation discussions with alliance partners but did not comment on speculation.

Singapore Airlines has a cornerstone stake in Virgin Australia, and the pair have a code-share alliance on flights to the city-state and beyond.

Sources said Virgin was not involved in the latest deal. But any agreement between Singapore and Air New Zealand would form an interesting series of relationships in this part of the world not involving Qantas.

In December, Qantas forged a code-share deal with Asia's largest airline, China Southern, as both carriers seek to funnel more passengers from Australia and China onto their respective networks.

The main game in town as far as airlines are concerned remains how the federal government decides to support the flying roo, which is in the middle of a critical strategic review.