By Courtney Trenwith
Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines say their proposed tie-up should be approved because of a ''strong competitive constraint'' from the Emirates-Qantas relationship
Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines have called on the New Zealand government to approve their proposed alliance to allow them to better compete against the tie-up between Dubai’s Emirates and Australian carrier Qantas.
In a submission to the New Zealand Transport Ministry, the airlines said the alliance was necessary because of a ''strong competitive constraint'' from the Emirates-Qantas relationship.
Emirates and Qantas launched an historic alliance on March 31, last year, which saw the Australian carrier move its Singapore hub to Dubai and the airlines strengthen services between Australasia and Europe.
The tie-up between Air NZ and Singapore Airlines (SIA) – both of which, alongside Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad, are significant shareholders in Qantas' rival Virgin Australia – would provide Air NZ with the opportunity for sustainable growth on its Pacific rim network.
"For Singapore Airlines, the alliance will increase the volume of customers travelling through their Singapore hub and connecting with their substantial network," the airlines said in their submission.
"The alliance will also put Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines in a stronger position to compete with the new Qantas-Emirates alliance."
Under the tie-up, Air NZ would restart Auckland-Singapore flights and SIA would introduce an Airbus A380 on the route.
Air NZ also would be able to offer customers codeshare access on SIA or flights operated by its full-service subsidiary, SilkAir, to more than 50 destinations in Southeast Asia, Europe and Britain, South Africa and India.
The airlines claimed the new partnership aimed to give customers similar advantages to those provided on the Qantas-Emirates network and were expected to increase total capacity on the Auckland-Singapore route by 30 percent over time.
They argued their networks were complementary and that on the one route that overlapped – Auckland-London - there were five other airlines operating, including Qantas and Emirates.
The Qantas-Emirates union also provided a variety of two-stop services with a travel time not significantly different to the service they would operate.
"Qantas-Emirates are also the largest carrier on the route, greater than the combined share of Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines," they said.
The airlines also have applied for regulatory approval from the Singaporean authorities.
A decision is expected to take about six months.
Emirates declined to comment on its competitors’ moves, while Qantas said on Wednesday it had expected a strong response to its alliance, particularly after flights between Australia and New Zealand were incorporated into the deal in August.transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Air NZ and Singapore are already in a very extensive alliance with Virgin Australia and Etihad.