Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are calling it quits on a seven-beneficial-year trans-Tasman relationship in order to pursue solo growth opportunities.

The airlines broke the bad news yesterday, when they revealed intentions to allow watchdog authorisation on their strategic alliance to expire on 27 October 2018.

Air New Zealand’s Chief Revenue Officer, Cam Wallace, said market dynamics on the Tasman have changed and now is the right time for both carriers to focus on their own objectives.

Although Wallace didn’t elaborate on the recent change in market dynamics, it may be in reference to Emirates and Qantas’ decision to ease trans-Tasman relations.


“Australia is the largest source of inbound visitors to New Zealand and Air New Zealand has built up a significant presence in this market,” he explained.

“This move will enable us to deliver a more consistent customer experience by using our own fleet and delivering an improved schedule, which we’ll provide more details about shortly.”

Cam Wallace, Air New Zealand Chief Revenue Officer

Air New Zealand said it remains committed to its other relationships and overall global airline alliance, however, this decision along with the carrier’s 2016 sale of Virgin Australia shares, could mark the end of relations with its Australian partner.

Virgin Australia Economy X 3

Virgin Australia’s Group Chief Executive Office and Managing Director, John Borghetti, doesn’t seem fussed, saying that this separation provides new opportunities for the company on the Tasman, including operations of both the Virgin and Tigerair brands.

“Virgin Australia will continue its strong focus on providing competition and outstanding service on the Tasman, which remains an important part of our network and strategy as an airline group.”

John Borghetti, Virgin Australia Group Chief Executive Office

There are no immediate changes to Virgin Australia travel bookings between Australia and New Zealand. Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand will work through arrangements regarding codeshare, scheduling, inflight offering, lounge access and frequent flyer program reciprocity to ensure minimal disruption to customers.

Customers will be notified of any changes as soon as possible.

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Think there’s only good things ahead for Virgin and Air New Zealand?