The Australian market competition regulator has conditionally approved the proposed alliance between Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia for three years.
The alliance will include a broad free-sale code share arrangement covering flights between Australia and New Zealand as well as domestic flights in the two countries, reciprocal loyalty scheme benefits and lounge access for frequent flyers as well a revenue sharing agreement.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) approved the alliance for three years after laying down certain conditions.
The two airlines had sought unconditional approval for five years – the same as the Emirates – Qantas alliance already in effect.
The alliance will be fully approved after the ACCC reviews public comments and responses by the two airlines.