Air New Zealand Managing Director and CEO Ralph Norris said that while disappointed with the ACCC's decision, the next step would be to apply for review of the decision by the Australian Competition Tribunal.

Mr Norris said that at this stage of the process, this outcome with the Australian regulators was not unexpected.

"Notwithstanding this, Air New Zealand and Qantas remain confident that the Australian Competition Tribunal review process affords us another opportunity to present our full case for the alliance and we remain confident that we can achieve a positive outcome."

Mr Norris said that he did not expect today's announcement to impact on the pending New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC) decision, saying the process followed by the two regulators is very different.

"The NZCC process provided the opportunity for the airlines and all other interested parties to state their case and respond to questions in front of the four determining Commissioners during a six day conference which examined in detail all of the evidence presented by airline executives and expert witnesses.

"The next steps in the process for approval of the alliance is to now wait for the NZCC's final decision and commence the review process with the Australian Competition Tribunal.

"Notwithstanding today's decision from the ACCC, I remain as convinced as ever of the need for a strategic alliance between Air New Zealand and Qantas to ensure both New Zealand and Australia retain the critical infrastructure both airlines provide their respective countries' economies," said Mr Norris.

NOTE: The content of all Air New Zealand media releases are accurate at the time of issue, as stated at the top of each release. For updates on any changes, please contact Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award, Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1, bmi, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. Aegean Airlines, Air India, Brussels Airlines and TAM have been announced as future members. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers 19,500 daily flights to 1,071 airports in 171 countries.

For more information about Air New Zealand visit www.airnewzealand.com and for more information about Star Alliance visit www.staralliance.com.