Air China has signed a statement of intent that could pave the way for a new strategic alliance with Air New Zealand.
The proposed alliance between the two national carriers and Star Alliance partners would see Air China operate a new direct Beijing-Auckland service, in addition to Air New Zealand’s existing Shanghai-Auckland service.
“New Zealand is one of the most important markets for outbound travel from China and Air China is confident about the promising future of this market, particularly considering the airline’s close ties with Air New Zealand,” said Air China’s CEO, Song Zhiyong.
Air New Zealand’s CEO, Christopher Luxon, added that the agreement would help facilitate business and tourism links between the two countries.
“China is New Zealand’s second largest inbound visitor market and we expect interest in visiting New Zealand to continue to grow amongst Chinese travellers,” Luxon said.
“However, China remains a challenging market for us to operate to. Working with a strong, well respected home market carrier like Air China would give us a huge opportunity to convert this potential growth, while jointly offering the additional capacity to support it.”
Following the signing of the statement of intent, the airlines will now plan to work towards a commercial agreement early next year.