Virgin Australia is setting its sights on the Tasman, aiming to rekindle a partnership with Air New Zealand. The deal would unlock the ability to earn and spend Velocity Points on selected Air NZ flights. There’d also be perks for Velocity members flying with New Zealand’s national carrier as part of the bundle.

A partnership with Air New Zealand isn’t a new thing for Virgin Australia. The two airlines shared a longstanding tie-up some years ago. But it broke down and had flow-on effects. For instance, Virgin Australia guests losing access to the Star Alliance Business Class and First Class lounges in Los Angeles, which are managed by Air NZ.

This codeshare agreement would complement Virgin Australia’s popular direct Queenstown services by expanding our trans-Tasman footprint with a world-class partner airline our customers know and love. New Zealand is the most popular overseas destination for Australian travellers, making this a great addition to our international network offering.

– Alistair Hartley, Virgin Australia Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, November 2023
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Benefits of the Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand partnership

A new collaboration between Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand would take on a different shape than the previous partnership. There’d still be a number of similar elements though. Here are some of the benefits that Virgin Australia aims to achieve:

  • Virgin Australia would codeshare on Air New Zealand’s flights from Australia into Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.
  • Velocity Frequent Flyer members would be able to earn and redeem points on Air New Zealand’s trans-Tasman flights.
  • Gold and Platinum members of Velocity could enjoy airport lounge access when flying between Australia and New Zealand.

The partnership requires approval from both the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and New Zealand Ministry of Transport. There isn’t yet a timeline as to when the airlines’ application will be reviewed and considered.

One point of complication will surely be that Air New Zealand already has a partnership with Virgin Australia’s arch-rival, Qantas. Interestingly though, the tie-up between Qantas and Air NZ only covers the domestic skies of each country. Air New Zealand codeshares on Qantas’ domestic flights, for example. But on trans-Tasman flights, the two airlines compete head-to-head.

If the proposed partnership between Virgin Australia and Air NZ is approved, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with the Qantas tie-up. The two partnerships could still work alongside each other, covering separate markets. But one larger and wider-reaching partnership could make the travel experience smoother for customers. Time will tell.

Also read: Air New Zealand Boeing 777 Business Premier review (Brisbane – Auckland)

Feature image courtesy of Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand, generated during the airlines’ previous partnership.

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Virgin Australia plans to revive Air New Zealand partnership was last modified: November 20th, 2023 by Chris Chamberlin