The FINANCIAL — Air New Zealand and Air China have on September 1 launched joint sales for a new daily direct service between Auckland and Beijing after receiving approval from New Zealand Minister of Transport Hon Simon Bridges to form a strategic alliance.
The alliance between the two national carriers will see air capacity between Auckland and Mainland China increase by more than 25 percent year round, according to Air New Zealand.
Under the alliance Air New Zealand will continue to operate daily between Auckland and Shanghai and Air China will operate the new service between Auckland and Beijing. The two carriers will codeshare on each other’s services between New Zealand and China.
The Beijing-Auckland service will begin operating on 10 December this year and fares will go on sale immediately.
The alliance will offer better access to Air China’s comprehensive domestic network for Air New Zealand customers, while Air China customers will have enhanced access to Air New Zealand’s network including domestic New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific Islands and South America.
Both Air New Zealand and Air China are members of Star Alliance, meaning customers will continue to enjoy reciprocal frequent flyer benefits including loyalty earning and redemption and lounge access.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says the agreement between the two airlines will help to deepen tourism and business connections between China and New Zealand.
“China is New Zealand’s second largest inbound visitor market and by collaborating with a strong, well respected home market carrier like Air China we can work together to grow this market, and benefit customers through a new direct link between New Zealand and Beijing,” says Mr Luxon.
Air China Chief Executive Officer Song Zhiyong says the relationship between China and New Zealand is going from strength to strength, with increased economic, cultural and political exchanges in recent years.
“We are committed to working with our Star Alliance partner to meet the growing demand from travellers in both markets and provide greater benefits to them,” says Mr Song.
Under the alliance Air New Zealand will continue to operate its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft on the Auckland – Shanghai route, offering customers Business Premier, Premium Economy, Economy Skycouch and Economy seating. Initially Air China will operate A330-200 aircraft between Auckland and Beijing which feature Business and Economy cabins.
The two flag carriers signed a Statement of Intent to form an alliance in November 2014. The New Zealand Minister of Transport has authorised the alliance until 31 March 2021.