Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue will have to wait a little longer to see if they have all the approvals they need for their alliance.
While the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ruled in their favor earlier this week, the airlines still need New Zealand’s Transport Minister Steven Joyce to sign off on their proposal. Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe said he was hopeful the minister would issue a decision by this weekend, but a spokeswoman for the minister told me it won’t be today.
Instead, the minister’s office hopes to make a decision before Christmas, i.e. sometime next week. The Ministry of Transport has offered its advice, but the final decision (and its timing) are in Joyce’s hands.
For those thinking that the ACCC process was the main obstacle, remember that regulators on either side of the Tasman have not always been on the same page in previous alliance applications. So while gaining the ACCC approval was a big step, its too early to celebrate just yet.