Every now and then, something comes along and takes everyone by surprise. This seems to have been the case last week, with Qantas and Air New Zealand announcing a domestic codeshare agreement.
The deal comes shortly after Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia go their separate ways. In fact, the codeshare starts pretty much immediately that partnership ends.
Air New Zealand and Qantas codeshares
From October 28 2018, Qantas will add its code (QF) to 30 domestic Air New Zealand routes. In the case of Air New Zealand, we will see the NZ code attached to 85 flights on the Qantas Domestic network.
The following maps show the extent of the codeshare agreement:
The agreement only covers domestic operations. There are no international (including Trans Tasman) services covered under the agreement.
Frequent Flyer considerations
Points & status
The good news for frequent flyers from the two airlines is that it adds additional services on which points (or Airpoints) and status credits can be earned.
At present, Qantas publish earning rates for domestic Jetstar services in new Zealand, but it is likely that Qantas will need to update the earnings tables for the new QF codes flights.
Under the codeshare deal, lounge access will be available to eligible travellers on both sides of the Tasman. This will give a total of 36 lounges across Australia and New Zealand.
Qantas passengers will get access to the 13 Koru lounges in New Zealand, while in return Air New Zealand passengers will get access to the Qantas Club in Australia.
After Air New Zealand sold its stake in Virgin Australia, it is likely that Virgin saw the end of the partnership coming. Given that, they would have had a Plan B in mind. We have seen that with the additional flights they have announced.
Whether they or anyone else saw this codeshare coming is another matter. It is hard to think what there Plan B could be to counter the situation that has developed.
So, it seems that Qantas and Air New Zealand have painted Virgin Australia into a bit of a corner with this agreement. It will be interesting to see how Virgin responds.