Air NZ may lift Virgin stake

Consumer watchdog says increased interest not likely to lessen competition.

Air New Zealand has received clearance from consumer watchdog Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to acquire an extra 6% stake in Virgin Australia Holdings (VAH).

In a statement, the ACCC said it would not oppose the proposed acquisition as it would not be likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition.

The ACCC this week granted conditional authorisation for the two airlines to continue their trans-Tasman alliance.

ACCC Commissioner Jill Walker said the deal "would not provide Air New Zealand with the ability to control or materially influence Virgin or significantly affect Air New Zealand’s incentives to compete with Virgin".

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