From early 2017 Air Canada and Virgin Australia introduce a tidy new partnership. Virgin Australia receives improved access to Canada – a market its JV partner Delta cannot sufficiently cover from their shared Los Angeles gateway. Air New Zealand's sixth freedom option, via Auckland, is the third largest transportation choice by Canadians visiting Australia. Since Virgin noisily fell out with Air NZ, the Australian airline is looking to reassert itself in Australia-North America markets that it had quietly let Air NZ dominate. Virgin has already announced plans to resume trans-Pacific services from Melbourne, which Air NZ took traffic from.
Air Canada is growing in Australia, expanding from its 2007 Sydney service with a 2016 Brisbane service, and perhaps soon Melbourne as well. Air Canada needs a partner for domestic and New Zealand connections as it expands its footprint and grows ahead of market demand. There is some conflict, since Air Canada - as it does for its expanding Asia and Europe presence – will look for USA sixth freedom traffic. Air Canada has favourable connections via Vancouver to a handful of American cities, including New York.
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