[Quick Take] United Airlines and Air New Zealand Form Joint Venture Partnership

Quick Take:

Mixed bag of possibilities with the new JV in this market. On the plus side, potential for better coordination of frequent flyer earnings and some markets may see better fares and/or more convenient connections.

On the down side, JVs are legalized collusion and generally reduce competition in a market, causing fares to increase. And competition to New Zealand was already rather anemic. Time will tell…


CHICAGO, March 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — United Airlines and Air New Zealand today announced a joint venture revenue-sharing agreement, deepening the partnership between the two airlines, which are both members of Star Alliance. Under the new revenue-sharing agreement, the carriers will more closely coordinate sales and marketing in order to offer their mutual customers more travel options between the mainland U.S. and New Zealand, as well as to other destinations throughout the airlines’ route networks.

The arrangement will begin when United launches its nonstop service between San Francisco and Auckland on July 1, 2016, subject to government approval.

“This joint venture will allow us to work more closely with Air New Zealand to optimize our trans-Pacific schedules and offer more convenient flight choices to our customers in both the U.S. and New Zealand,” said Jim Compton, United’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer. “We look forward to continuing to work with Air New Zealand, an industry innovator and leader, to further grow our business in ways that will benefit our mutual customers.”

“Air New Zealand is delighted to be working even more closely with our long standing partner to further grow the potential of the U.S. market,” said Christopher Luxon, Air New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer. “We know that New Zealand is a popular destination for American leisure travelers.  By working more closely with such a strong home market carrier as United we look forward to welcoming even more American visitors to enjoy our unique Kiwi tourism experience.”

More Choice and Convenience

Air New Zealand currently operates nonstop service to five North American destinations from Auckland, including daily flights to San Francisco, twice-daily flights to Los Angeles, and five weekly flights to Houston.

With the start of United’s San Francisco-Auckland flights on July 1, the two carriers will operate complementary service on that route, with their respective nonstop flights timed to offer travelers more choice and convenience across the airlines’ combined networks.

Initially, United will operate the service three times weekly using Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft, transitioning to daily service in November 2016, with larger Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

Since 2001, the United and Air New Zealand alliance has provided substantial benefits to the traveling public through codesharing, frequent flyer programs and distribution. The airlines currently codeshare on domestic routes in the U.S. and New Zealand, and on additional routes in North America, Central America, Australia and the Pacific Islands, as well as to London.

Loyalty Program Benefits

United and Air New Zealand currently have a frequent flyer loyalty agreement as members of Star Alliance. MileagePlus and Airpoints™ members will continue to have reciprocal benefits to earn and redeem on both airlines. As their partnership grows, the carriers will work to further enhance these offerings for loyalty program members.


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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


    1. Brand new…this was my first attempt. Not 100% sold on it yet, but I think it is coming together. Expect to see more in the future as it is a good way for me to make sure I’m sharing interesting stories when I don’t necessarily have time to get in to a full analysis.

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