Virgin Atlantic has established a foothold in New Zealand with the appointment of a sales manager and a push to take more Kiwis to England, including Rugby World Cup fans.
The Sir Richard Branson-founded airline is now the only British carrier with an office in New Zealand with the end of a British Airways presence earlier this year.
"It's really key for us to have a presence in the market if you think about the historic links between New Zealand and the UK. London is the number one destination in Europe - it's about offering them choice," said the Virgin Atlantic commercial manager Adrian Bird.
Virgin Atlantic is not part of any airline alliance but has a number of strategic partnerships, including with Air New Zealand.
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"It's a very good partnership we have with Air New Zealand. New Zealand is one of our top markets and we're expecting a little bit more with the Rugby World Cup going on in England," he said in Auckland where he was meeting travel industry players.
Virgin Atlantic was targeting Air New Zealand passengers who flew to San Francisco and Shanghai to fly them on to London.
Bird said much of the on-board product was the same or similar and there was a reciprocal air miles programme.
"For the passenger it's virtually the same experience all the way through."
Virgin Atlantic is nearing the end of a two-year turnaround after losses.
Two years ago the airline suffered a loss of about 100 million ($202 million) which was halved last year and it hoped to make a small profit - about 10 million - this year.
It was expanding routes and capacity into the United States, had just starting flying to Atlanta and was about to start services to Detroit early next year. Delta Airlines, now a 49 per cent shareholder in Virgin, had its hub in Atlanta and was feeding into the British airline's network.