Air New Zealand and Qantas have today announced that they will apply for review of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission`s (ACCC) decision to turn down the airlines` application for authorisation to form a strategic alliance.
Air New Zealand Managing Director and CEO Ralph Norris said that while disappointed with the ACCC`s decision, the next step would be to apply for review of the decision by the Australian Competition Tribunal.
Mr Norris said that at this stage of the process, this outcome with the Australian regulators was not unexpected.
“Notwithstanding this, Air New Zealand and Qantas remain confident that the Australian Competition Tribunal review process affords us another opportunity to present our full case for the alliance and we remain confident that we can achieve a positive outcome.”
Mr Norris said that he did not expect today`s announcement to impact on the pending New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC) decision, saying the process followed by the two regulators is very different.
“The NZCC process provided the opportunity for the airlines and all other interested parties to state their case and respond to questions in front of the four determining Commissioners during a six day conference which examined in detail all of the evidence presented by airline executives and expert witnesses.
“The next steps in the process for approval of the alliance is to now wait for the NZCC`s final decision and commence the review process with the Australian Competition Tribunal.
“Notwithstanding today`s decision from the ACCC, I remain as convinced as ever of the need for a strategic alliance between Air New Zealand and Qantas to ensure both New Zealand and Australia retain the critical infrastructure both airlines provide their respective countries` economies,” said Mr Norris.