Qantas and American Airlines signal 'major announcement' for New Zealand

Qantas planesNew Zealanders can expect a "major announcement" from alliance partners Qantas and American Airlines on Wednesday. Both Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce and American Airlines chief executive Doug Parker will visit Wellington for the announcement which Transport Minister Simon Bridges will also attend.

House of Travel commercial director Brent Thomas said there were rumours the two Oneworld airlines could be launching a direct codeshare service from New Zealand to the United States.

Air New Zealand has a monopoly on direct flights from Auckland to Los Angeles and San Francisco and, from December, Houston.

It also flies Auckland to Honolulu along with Hawaiian Airlines.

When new carriers entered a route on which there was no competition previously consumers benefited through lower airfares and greater choice of products, Thomas said.

From July 1 United Airlines will also start flying three times a week from San Francisco to Auckland with a 242-seat 787-8 aircraft.

In December Qantas launches a new flight between Sydney and San Francisco and American Airlines launches flights between Sydney and Los Angeles.

Air New Zealand has also said it was in the final stages of evaluating two new long haul routes, one of which was expected to be announced before Christmas.

Centre for Aviation analyst Blake Moore said he expected American Airlines to announce it would fly its 787 Dreamliner on the Auckland to Los Angeles route as part of its alliance with Qantas.

READ MORE: * Air NZ preparing to announce two new international routesQantas, American Airlines partnership 'benefits passengers'

Thomas said it would be interesting if American Airlines and Qantas launched a service on a route which Air New Zealand had a monopoly on, such as Los Angeles.

"Los Angeles is a gateway for New Zealanders to mainland USA," Thomas said.

Increased capacity on a route encouraged more people to travel, he said.

"Airlines have to price at a level that creates the demand to fill certain parts of the plane."

Thomas said it was also possible Qantas and American Airlines would announce a trans-Tasman codeshare service.

More Americans were travelling to this part of the world as the US dollar strengthened against the kiwi and aussie dollar, he said.

That meant more American tourists would be visiting Australia and wanting to cross the Tasman to New Zealand on their trip as well.


 - Stuff