Virgin Australia has received interim authorisation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for the partnership plan with Alliance Airlines.

With the regulatory approval, Virgin Australia and Alliance Airlines will be able to cooperate on 41 regional routes and two short-haul international routes.

According to ACCC, the partnership is ‘likely to result in a public benefit’ and that the airlines will not compete on the routes.

The regulatory commission also noted that it will help Virgin Australia in re-establishing its national network of routes.

ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the aviation industry in Australia.

“This interim authorisation will help facilitate a more competitive aviation landscape as Australian consumers resume travelling and demand for flights increases.”

In September, US private equity company Bain Capital secured creditors’ approval for the purchase of airline Virgin Australia.

Virgin Australia currently operates services on 37 domestic routes from 28 ports.

Ridgeway added: “Cooperating to provide services on these regional routes will assist Virgin Australia and Alliance Airlines to efficiently manage capacity and quickly respond to increases in demand as travel restrictions ease.

“We acknowledge there is some urgency to this matter. A delay in Virgin Australia fully re-establishing its network, while other airlines are increasing services in response to greater demand as travel restrictions ease, is likely to result in less competitive markets.

“This is why we have given this arrangement interim authorisation while we consider the substantive application.”