AUSTRALIA’S peak airports body has warned of risks posed by the planned codeshare deal between Qantas and Air New Zealand, and is calling for measures to ensure it does not adversely affect travellers.
The Australian Airports Association (AAA) has urged regulators on both sides of the Tasman to address the anti-competitive effects of the tie-up, in which Qantas and Air New Zealand will add their codes to dozens of domestic routes in each others’ network (TD Fri).
AAA ceo Caroline Wilkie warned the arrangement would lessen competition and had the potential to constrain the trans-Tasman market.
“This arrangement seems likely to make it harder for Virgin Australia to compete in the Australian market,” Wilkie said.
“We are particularly concerned this arrangement will further strengthen Qantas’ dominant position in the Australian market to the detriment of both Virgin Australia and the Australian travelling public,” she said.
Having the ability to distribute each others’ passengers across the Tasman would give Qantas and Air New Zealand improved market positions, Wilkie said, and make it harder for Virgin Australia to compete on important trans-Tasman routes.
“It is essential the details of this agreement be publicly examined by the competition authorities to ensure it has no anti-competitive effects,” she said.
“This is the only way to ensure competitive and affordable aviation markets in and between Australia and New Zealand and a visitor economy spanning the two countries that delivers to everyone the economic benefits associated with trans-Tasman travel,” she said.