Air New Zealand says Qantas Airways has proposed buying a stake in the airline from its two major shareholders Brierley Investments and Singapore Airlines.
Air New Zealand's board revealed the proposal today in a statement to the stock exchange.
"The proposal is conceptual and no valuations have been incorporated in the proposal at this stage," the statement said.
The board said it was too early to form a view on the proposed acquisition.
However, it said it would consider the proposal "in the interests of all shareholders", and had established an independent committee of directors to consider this and other options.
Brierley holds 30 per cent of the Air New Zealand group, and Singapore Airlines 25 per cent.
Meanwhile Air New Zealand chairman Sir Selwyn Cushing – who is also chairman of Brierley Investments - is stepping aside from both positions pending the outcome of the proposed acquisition.
He said he intended to make a statement to the Singapore Stock Exchange regarding his chairmanship of Brierley later today.
He would remain a director of both Air New Zealand and Brierley.