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Virgin Blue needs a foot in the door

Virgin Blue needs a foot in the door

The Government must move to ensure discount airline Virgin Blue gets a foot in the door to the New Zealand market, according to National Party leader Bill English.

“I’m calling on the Government to get Virgin Blue around the table for serious talks,” said Mr English after meeting the airline’s commercial head David Huttner today.

“First the Government needs to state its policy on competition in the airline market if it can’t talk about the Qantas/Air New Zealand deal.

“New Zealanders deserve to know whether the Labour Government supports competition or not,” says Mr English.

“If the Government has no view, Qantas and Air New Zealand will be left effectively determining New Zealand’s competition policy.

“But the Labour Government’s made it clear it’ll be saying nothing publicly about the Qantas deal for quite some time.

“In the interim the Transport Minister should be doing what he can to preserve competition on Trans-Tasman and domestic routes,“ Mr English says.

“Just yesterday an independent report into the Air New Zealand sale confirmed air fares would rise under the monopoly scenario.

“The Government’s now got the opportunity to pre-empt that and pave the way for healthy competition.

“That’s in the best interests of the travelling public, as well as exporters and other businesses that rely on air freight,” Mr English says.

Meanwhile, the National Party’s web site has now amassed nearly nine hundred signatures on a petition to stop the partial sale of Air New Zealand.

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