Forget rivalry in the ANZ region; today Qantas, Rex, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand have hopped into bed together and established a new industry group to chase reform on public policy.
Australia and New Zealand’s national carriers are taking on the issues that impact the aviation sector, and to some extent the broader economy, in their new group known as ‘Airlines for Australia and New Zealand (A4ANZ).
Member airlines are Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Qantas, Regional Express (Rex), Tigerair Australia and Virgin Australia.
A4ANZ will give Air New Zealand, the Qantas Group, Regional Express Holdings and the Virgin Australia Group to contribute to the policy debate on issues that affect all Australian and New Zealand travellers, including things concerning airports, taxation and fees, infrastructure and broader regulatory reform.
Professor Graeme Samuel AC, the former Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), will take the lead as independent chair of A4ANZ. Samuel’s professional career has spanned senior roles in law, investment banking and public service.
A4ANZ will be run by a Board made up of a representative from each member airline, in addition to the independent Chair, to oversee the management of the industry group. The CEO will be appointed in coming months.
The group will be funded by its members: Air New Zealand, the Qantas Group, Regional Express Holdings and the Virgin Australia Group.
And now a word from the CEOs
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said, “Airport fees and charges continue to increase while airlines are offering fares at levels significantly cheaper than they were over a decade ago.
“A4ANZ’s goal is to achieve regulatory reform that will promote a competitive and sustainable airline industry in the interests of Australian and New Zealand travellers.”
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Christopher Luxon added, “Australia and New Zealand must compete for visitors on the world stage against many other attractive destinations.
“To be competitive we must continue to improve cost and quality in all parts of the travel experience but we are constrained by a legacy of under investment and over recovery at key airports. A4ANZ will add its voice to that ambition”.
Rex Executive Chairman Lim Kim Hai said, “A4ANZ is critical for regional communities as major airports are all too ready to sacrifice critical regional interests. Rex looks forward to working with Professor Samuel and the Board to ensure the sustainability of all stakeholders big or small in the aviation industry.”
Virgin Australia Group CEO John Borghetti concluded, “Aviation is one of the greatest enablers of tourism, trade and economic growth in our region, so it’s absolutely critical that airports operate efficiently and that investment in infrastructure benefits travellers.”
The A4ANZ member airlines between them fly more than 90 million passengers every year, and employ over 60,000 people.