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The proposed codeshare between Air New Zealand (ANZ) and Qantas Airways across the Tasman Sea is running into flak in New Zealand.

Capacity cuts planned as part of the deal have raised concerns in Wellington. They claim that ANZ is retaining Auckland flights at the expense of other New Zealand gateways. Overall capacity between Wellington and Australia will shrink only 10%, but critics say the allocation of cutbacks will make the capital city more dependent on Qantas.

Because of differences in Australian and New Zealand law, the codeshare must be approved by Australia’s competition commission, while New Zealand only requires approval from its transport ministry. Local officials are calling for the transport minister, who they regard as more pro-airline, to transfer the application to New Zealand’s commerce commission, which enforces competition law.

Rob Fyfe, ANZ’s chief executive, sees an irony in the calls for commerce commission review. Before agreeing to this codeshare, Fyfe claims he wanted the commission to investigate his complaint that Emirates and others were dumping capacity on the Tasman. He was told the commission had no jurisdiction over that issue and so turned to a codeshare with Qantas.

“There’s an inconsistency,” Fyfe says, “that the commerce commission has no jurisdiction to review Emirates behaviour on the Tasman, but people want to review our response to that.” ■

Source: Airline Business