Written on 19th June 2018

Trans-Tasman travel sees major shake up

Given the close proximity of the two countries, ‘Trans-Tasman’ travel between Australia and New Zealand has long been one of the southern hemisphere’s busiest and most hotly-contested routes. And over the past few months we have seen a major shake-up of alliances and schedules that will have a long-standing impact on travel ‘across the pond’.

Earlier this year Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand announced they would sever their seven-year alliance, with the two set to part ways from late October. Not only will the move impact code-share flights, but will also end the shared points and lounge access regime that was in place as part of both airline’s loyalty programs.

In announcing the move, Air New Zealand said: “Australia is the largest source of inbound visitors to New Zealand and Air New Zealand has built up a significant presence in this market. This decision will enable us to serve our customers best and deliver a more consistent customer experience by flying them on our aircraft, with our product offerings and our friendly Kiwi service.”

Virgin Australia also talked up the new opportunities presented through the split, but have yet to provide more detail on their new Trans-Tasman offering.

Within weeks though came the shock announcement that Air New Zealand would enter a new partnership with Virgin Australia’s bitter rival Qantas – a move that surprised travel insiders.

While both airlines will maintain separate operations for flights between the two countries, the deal will see code-share arrangements in place for domestic travel in both Australia and New Zealand. The arrangements also align both airline’s loyalty programs including Lounge access and the ability to earn points on code-share flights.

The new regime will come into effect on 28th October and any bookings currently in place for travel before that date will be unaffected. If you are impacted, or need more detail on the new arrangement, contact your TAG Travel Executive today for more details.

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