ACCC rubber stamps Virgin Australia’s newest codeshare

Travellers will likely see an influx of deals on airfares across the Tasman with VA’s new tie-up, as MATT LENNON explores.

Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand have kissed and made-up after seven years apart, together again thanks to the ACCC approving the two airlines to work together to increase competition across the Tasman.

The new five-year partnership runs through to the end of Jun 2029 and allows Virgin Australia to market and ticket available seats on Air New Zealand flights between Australia and New Zealand, provided they originate in Australia.

The full approval seemed a formality after the competition watchdog issued a draft determination last month indicating it was likely to approve the tie-up.

Under the codeshare, Virgin Australia can place its VA code on Air New Zealand flights to and from Australia, selling tickets and resupplying the itineraries.

The only caveat is the deal doesn’t apply on services between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to Queenstown as both carriers already compete against each other on some of these routes.

The two carriers can also launch joint marketing and tactical promotions which will likely result in a suite of discount and packaged airfares and holidays to New Zealand which will be heavily promoted to Australian travellers.

Air New Zealand is also required to dictate which of its fares can be sold by Virgin Australia.

ACCC Deputy Chair, Mick Keogh, said the competition watchdog was satisfied the sharing of resources by these airlines will improve ticketing and price options on trans-Tasman routes.

“Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand will also be able to jointly offer discounts and a range of marketing options to businesses, and eligible Virgin Australia customers will have access to Velocity Frequent Flyer program benefits and international lounge access,” Keogh added.

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