Bridges had authorized the alliance for an initial term of five years and four months.
“So far, passengers flying from Poland have not been able to travel to New Zealand without at least two stops which has made the journey quite uncomfortable for some of them”.
Air New Zealand pulled its direct twice-weekly Auckland to Beijing service in June 2012 after heavy losses, and instead focused on its Auckland to Shanghai route.
The route between Warsaw and Japan’s capital will be operated by LOT, and the route between Tokyo and Auckland will be operated by Air New Zealand.
The two Star Alliance carriers would codeshare on each other’s services between New Zealand and China.
The partnership, which has just been approved by authorities in New Zealand, will see the two national carriers increase capacity between Auckland and mainland China by more than 25%.
AIR] and Air China was first announced during President Xi’s state visit in November previous year.
Mr Bridges said as well as expanding services, Air China will actively market New Zealand as a visitor destination.
Air NZ says its customers will get better access to Air China’s comprehensive domestic network, while Air China customers will have enhanced access to Air NZ’s network including domestic New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific Islands and South America. Tourists from China recently pushed New Zealand’s annual visitor numbers over the three million mark.
During this period, the airlines would need to demonstrate the alliance had delivered real benefits to consumers and had not adversely affected competition in the New Zealand-China market. Initially Air China will operate A330-200 aircraft between Auckland and Beijing which feature Business and Economy cabins.
Bridges signed off the alliance after it received Cabinet approval on Monday.