An Air China Airbus A330 takes off from Beijing Capital International Airport. [Photo / Provided to China Daily]
BEIJING - Air China and Air New Zealand signed a Statement of Intent paving the way for a strategic alliance on services between the two airlines on Friday.
The proposed alliance between the two national flag carriers will see Air China operate a new direct Beijing-Auckland route in addition to Air New Zealand's existing Shanghai-Auckland service.
The tie-up will benefit customers travelling in both directions, including better network connections in both countries and increased frequency of flights.
Following Friday's signing, the airlines hope to reach an agreement early next year, which can then be filed for regulatory approval.
"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," said Air China CEO Song Zhiyong.
Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon said a deeper bilateral agreement between the two airlines would help facilitate both business and tourism 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 among Chinese travellers," said Luxon.
"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," he added.