Etihad Airways and Air New Zealand plan to begin code sharing on several international and domestic flights, in a move that also aligns Air NZ more closely with its Australian partner Virgin Blue.

The announcement closely follows the approvals by Australian regulators of alliances between Virgin Blue and Etihad, and Virgin Blue and Air New Zealand. Now, Air NZ will code share on Etihad flights between Australian destinations and Abu Dhabi, as well as London-Abu Dhabi. Etihad will put its code on certain Air NZ domestic flights and routes between New Zealand and Australia.

The deal “further extends connectivity options for our customers through to Europe as well as providing opportunities to further grow passenger numbers for our trans-Tasman and domestic services,” says Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe.

Etihad CEO James Hogan, meanwhile, says the code share “opens up five key destinations in New Zealand that we have been eager to offer to our customers for a long time.”

The two carriers will also integrate their frequent flyer programs. Government approvals are still needed, and the code share flights are expected to be on sale from the end of February for travel from the end of March.