The United Airlines pullout from New Zealand could cause further problems for a proposed partnering of Air New Zealand and Qantas.
Australian news sources report that the two airlines will be spending quality time this year trying to convince regulators to approve the deal. Part of that convincing includes allaying monopoly fears, which is precisely what will happen on the U.S.- New Zealand route once United leaves New Zealand in March.
The New Zealand Commerce Commission was expected to release a statement on the merger at press time. Earlier, Kiwi consultants to the government had expressed concern that Air New Zealand might not survive without the support of Qantas.
United will cease operations in New Zealand on March 29, but will continue to operate as part of the Star Alliance.