Air New Zealand signs codeshare with Air India

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 14:58 09/06/2015
Daniel Berehulak

New Zealand tourists will have another travel option to visit the sites of India, including the Taj Mahal after Air New Zealand and Air India signed a codeshare agreement.

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Air New Zealand and Air India have signed a deal to partner on services between New Zealand and India.

Through the deal Air New Zealand will codeshare on routes to several Indian cities via Melbourne and Sydney.

Fellow Star Alliance carrier Air India will also be able to access the New Zealand market on Air New Zealand services.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon and Air India chairman Rohit Nandan signed the agreement at the International Air Transport Association annual meeting in Miami on Tuesday.

Luxon said India, with its growing middle class, was an aviation force that would increase international visitors to New Zealand.

Nearly 90,000 people travel between India and New Zealand a year, he said.

"This codeshare agreement will provide greater choice and convenience for those travelling between our two countries in both directions," Luxon said.

Ticket for the services are expected to go on sale in the next few months.

Flight Centre general manager of corporate Simon McKearney said the codeshare was an interesting decision by Air New Zealand because the airline already had access to India through its Singapore Airlines alliance.

Air India was a low cost carrier and one of the cheapest ways for New Zealanders to fly to  Britain or Europe, McKearney said.

For about $1500 travellers could fly via Sydney and Delhi before continuing on to London, which provided the added bonus of a stopover in Delhi to do some sight seeing, he said.

The codeshare would be attractive to Indian's living in New Zealand who wanted to return to India visit friends and family, McKearney said.

House of Travel commercial director Brent Thomas said the number of leisure travellers from India to New Zealand in the year to April grew 22 per cent on the same period the previous year.

Many of those travellers were visiting relatives who had moved to New Zealand, he said.

"There's a significant amount of immigration coming from India to New Zealand," Thomas said.

India was also an increasingly popular destination for New Zealand travellers.

When access to a destination is made easier there was always a spike in the number of people travelling there, Thomas said.

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