Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) extended Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue’s deadline to respond to its preliminary decision to block their proposed trans-Tasman alliance (Radio New Zealand, 28-Sep-2010). The carriers now have until 11-Oct-2010 to make their submissions, after they requested an extension from the original deadline of last week to prepare information and meet ACCC representatives to discuss its concerns. The ACCC plans to make its final decision on the alliance by 20-Dec-2010.
Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue given more time to respond to ACCC decision
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Hong Kong Airlines to grow in Australia via Virgin Australia partnership. Auckland launches Nov-2016
Having built a regional Asian network anchored around mainland China as a source market, HNA Group's Hong Kong Airlines is leveraging its hub capability from short/medium haul connections to long haul transfers, which also reduce CASK. Hong Kong Airlines resumed long haul flying in early 2016 with a service to Cairns and the Gold Coast. Auckland will be added from Nov-2016 and Hong Kong Airlines should be able to break up the Air New Zealand-Cathay Pacific joint venture on the route.
Hong Kong Airlines is restricted from serving major Australian cities due to bilateral limits (Australia and Hong Kong have not been able to agree on increased capacity levels). Hong Kong Airlines' owner HNA has bought into Virgin Australia, which plans to serve the key HNA hubs of Beijing and Hong Kong in 2017, providing access from major Australian cities. Virgin could also help Hong Kong Airlines make viable service to smaller Australian cities.
Hong Kong Airlines is receiving a lift in Australia and New Zealand bookings, attributed to Asian consumers shifting away from travel in Europe, which has repeatedly been impacted by terrorist acts. Hong Kong Airlines believes that passengers are "viewing Australia and New Zealand together as more of a safe-haven status destination".
Air New Zealand's focus on quality should benefit corporate travel buyers - and travellers
Air New Zealand's healthy profit report contained a pledge to continue to improve the airline's offerings – domestically and internationally. The positive performance will be reassuring to the airline’s corporate customers, who are still very much aware of the 2001 government bail-out which saved the airline from being dragged under by the collapse of its Ansett Australia subsidiary.
New Zealand businesses, known for their external focus, depend on safe, reliable and affordable air services, especially with the country’s main trading partners in Australia, China, the United States and Japan. Customers will be buoyed by the solid performance of Air New Zealand’s international operations as well as by the increased competition in the market which is keeping a lid on fare growth.
Customers will also be encouraged by the airline’s commitment to product improvement, through airport lounge enhancements, fleet refurbishments and added premium economy capacity. In turn, this should help ensure healthy competitive offerings from other airlines on key routes.