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SIA, Air New Zealand form alliance


Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong (L) and Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon (R) shake hands after signing an alliance agreement in Singapore on January 16, 2014. Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Air New Zealand on January 16 announced an alliance to expand services to both countries as they look to capitalise on growing tourism traffic in Asia-Pacific. Photo - AFP

Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Air New Zealand on Thursday announced an alliance to expand services to both countries and boost their global reach as they look to capitalise on growing tourism traffic.

The alliance will enable SIA to operate its Airbus A380 superjumbos to New Zealand for the first time, progressively replacing daily services using the smaller Boeing 777-300ER, the firms said in a joint statement.

Air New Zealand will launch daily services between Auckland and Singapore using newly refitted Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, the statement said, replacing five flights currently operated by SIA.
Air New Zealand last operated flights to Singapore in 2006.

Singapore's affluent population has become a key target for global tourist destinations.

"Singapore's luxury travel market appears to offer a huge opportunity for New Zealand, with local demand for high-end travel matching the Asian-wide upswing," Tourism New Zealand said on its website.

The two carriers are aiming to boost their capacity between Singapore and New Zealand by up to 30 percent.

SIA's daily Singapore-Christchurch service will continue as part of the alliance.

The deal will also expand Air New Zealand's connectivity to the rest of the world through SIA's extensive network.

Air New Zealand passengers will be able to access codeshare travel on the SIA network to Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa, as well as on the network of SIA's regional subsidiary, SilkAir.

SIA customers will in turn enjoy codeshare travel across the Air New Zealand domestic network and to the Pacific islands.

"This alliance is another example of our commitment to the important Southwest Pacific market, and our commitment to the further enhancement of our network," said SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the tie-up "clearly fits our business objectives of working with the right partners in the right markets to deliver seamless customer journeys".

He told reporters the partnership with SIA is the "cornerstone" of Air New Zealand's business strategy because of its international scope.

Air New Zealand's alliance with Cathay Pacific is limited to serving Hong Kong and southern China and its partnership with ANA is restricted to the Japanese market, Luxon noted.

The two carriers are seeking approval for the deal from the Competition Commission of Singapore and the New Zealand Minister of Transport, and said flights under the new alliance could start as early as December this year.

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