The New Zealand Commerce Commission has granted Air New Zealand (ANZ) and Qantas a six-week extension - from 9 May to 20 June - to make submissions on the authority's initial rejection of the airlines' planned tie-up. The move will push back a final decision from the New Zealand authority to September.

Meanwhile, Qantas will lodge its submission by 9 May to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission following the ACCC's rejection of the alliance as uncompetitive in its draft determination in April. The move comes as Qantas calls for a quick final determination from the ACCC to allow an appeal to the Australian Competition Tribunal if the deal is rejected.

Australian deputy prime minister John Anderson is pushing the ACCC to approve the alliance to ensure the Australian flag carrier's future. The minister recommends the airlines submit more undertakings to eliminate the anti-competitive aspects of their deal to ensure approval.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon says the airline had made a strong case that the alliance would deliver significant benefits, but the ACCC ignored or underestimated the "fundamental challenges" facing airlines.

Source: Flight International