ANZ, Virgin Australia announce joint network

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Air New Zealand (ANZ) and Virgin Australia have announced plans for their joint trans-Tasman network, effective for the upcoming northern winter schedule from November 2011 to March 2012.

The alliance will connect ANZ's domestic network of 26 ports to Virgin Australia's domestic network of 31 domestic ports.

Under the new network, ANZ will operate approximately 70% of the capacity and Virgin Australia's Pacific Blue airline will operate 30%, similar to the relative market share the airlines had prior to the beginning of the alliance.

The planned joint trans-Tasman network will see the adjustment of ANZ and Pacific Blue flight times. There will also be transferring of capacity on some routes between the two airlines where appropriate. In addition, capacity changes will occur on some routes to match demand and market conditions, said ANZ.

As a result, capacity on ANZ Auckland-Adelaide and Auckland-Perth services will go up by 16% and 4% respectively during the peak summer period.

Capacity on Christchurch markets will go down by 14% to better align with the reduced demand in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes.

"The changes better match capacity to demand and in many instances this means a greater range of flight times by removing 'wingtip flying', as well as better connections to domestic Australia and domestic New Zealand flights," said ANZ group general manager Australasia airline, Bruce Parton.

"In addition, as indicated last year, we are actively looking at a couple of potential new trans-Tasman routes which we will likely make a decision on before the end of the year," he added.

The two airlines will also align their product offerings from July, when codesharing between the carriers will begin.

The joint trans-Tasman alliance between the airlines was approved by New Zealand in late 2010, clearing the last regulatory hurdle needed for it to take effect. In January 2011, ANZ acquired a 14.9% stake in Virgin Australia.