Air New Zealand and Etihad intend to expand their new code share agreement to cover China flights, once regulatory approval has been gained.

AviationWeek has learned that Air NZ has applied to the New Zealand government for permission to put its code on Etihad flights between Beijing and Abu Dhabi. The airlines also want to code share on Air NZ’s Auckland-Beijing service.

The New Zealand government last week granted approval for the two airlines to code share on several routes between New Zealand and Australia, between Australia and Abu Dhabi, and beyond Abu Dhabi to London. The application for the Beijing code sharing is currently the only planned expansion to these initial routes, an Air NZ spokesman says.

An Auckland-Abu Dhabi trip under the Air NZ-Etihad code share will be much shorter if it connects in Sydney instead of Beijing. However, the Air NZ spokesman says the China code share is still desirable, as both China and the United Arab Emirates are important trading partners for New Zealand and there is good potential for dual destination traffic.