Emirates Airline and Qantas have been given the green light by the New Zealand government to share services on trans-Tasman flights, it was announced on Wednesday.
NZ Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said it would benefit passengers, exporters and the tourism sector by providing stronger connections to the Middle East and Africa.
"Qantas and Emirates will be able to cooperate on passenger and cargo transport operations, and other related services, for an initial period of five years," he said.
The deal will allow the airlines to fly direct to Queenstown and Wellington.
It follows approval granted by the Australian competition regulator in March for an alliance on flights to Europe via Dubai, which came with the condition that they must maintain capacity on trans-Tasman routes.
Qantas and Emirates both welcomed the New Zealand Minister for Transport’s decision to approve their partnership.
Qantas and Emirates applied for authorisation of the partnership in September 2012 under the Civil Aviation Act.
Tim Clark, president of Emirates, said: “This is a game-changing partnership that brings together two of the world’s best airlines and offers some of the highest quality travel experiences.
“Dubai is a leading global hub and through it, our two airlines will connect New Zealand to Europe, the UK and Northern Africa more smoothly than ever before."
Alan Joyce, CEO of the Qantas Group, added: “This decision means that New Zealand consumers can tap into the lounges, frequent flyer benefits and destinations available under the joint Qantas and Emirates network.
“The partnership also opens the door to increased tourism opportunities for New Zealand, by making it easier for travellers across both Qantas and Emirates’ network connect more seamlessly across the Tasman,” he added.
From Dubai, passengers can connect to 65 one-stop destinations in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East (subject to regulatory approvals).