1 Oct 2012

Air NZ 'ready for Qantas-Emirates competition'

9:00 pm on 1 October 2012

Air New Zealand's departing chief executive, Rob Fyfe, says the airline would adapt to any competition from a proposed partnership between Qantas and Emirates.

Last month, the two airlines announced a joint venture coordinating their services between Australia and New Zealand. Subject to regulatory approval the new arrangement could take effect from next April.

Mr Fyfe told shareholders at Air New Zealand's annual general meeting on Friday that it will adapt to any competition.

He says the airline offers greater frequency of flights and a broader range of destinations, as well as having a connection into the Australian network through its relationship with Virgin.

Mr Fyfe says the merger will effect Air New Zealand, with Qantas or a combination of the two airlines expected to return to the Auckland-Los Angeles route, and further competition in Europe.

"But we're confident we can continue to adapt our business to that threat, and we're sure we'll see further competitors come and go from this market in the future."

Mr Fyfe steps down as chief executive at the end of the year.