Seeking greater access for their customers into mainland China markets, Air New Zealand announced an agreement with Cathay Pacific to launch a strategic agreement in December 2012. The two carriers will coordinate their schedules for service between Auckland and Hong Kong, including code-sharing on flights. Additionally, connections to mainland China on Cathay will be coordinated with the Air New Zealand schedule, allowing better access to those markets for the Kiwis. The partnership will include reciprocity on frequent flyer points earning and elite status benefits, including lounge access and other priority services.
At the same time, Air New Zealand has announced that they will be dropping service between London and Hong Kong as of March 2013. The carrier will redeploy much of that capacity on flights to North America. Long-haul markets have been a sore spot for the carrier’s profitability in recent years and, according to CEO Rob Fyfe, the Hong Kong – London route showed no signs of reversing that trend anytime soon.
Of significant note in the new partnership is that the two carriers belong to separate global alliances. Cathay is a founding member of oneworld and Air New Zealand is a member of Star Alliance. Despite participating in different alliances the two carriers have managed to establish a bilateral agreement which should prove beneficial to their respective customers. Just another example of partnerships growing outside of the alliances. And these new partnerships, for the most part, work in favor of the customers.
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