AIR New Zealand is planning to offer onward connections into continental Europe from Heathrow with Star Alliance partners Lufthansa and SAS.

The move follows ANZ’s decision to join the Star Alliance with its partner airline Ansett Australia.

ANZ UK and Ireland regional manager Roger Poulton said: “Everything within Star Alliance is being considered. We are looking to feed onto European networks and are looking at opportunities for codesharing.”

ANZ/Ansett codeshare with Singapore Airlines, which is expected to join Star Alliance, and on the domestic routes of existing members United Airlines, Air Canada and Lufthansa.

ANZ/Ansett are seeking closer co-operation with Thai Airways, Varig and All Nippon Airways, which joins Star Alliance in October.

Poulton said joint UKsales and marketing was being finalised between ANZ/Ansett and its new partners. ANZ/ Ansett is considering a presence in Star Alliance’s central London joint ticket office in Conduit Street, but is likely to keep its main office in Haymarket.

Poulton said the entrance of ANZ and Ansett into Star Alliance gives the partnership a stronger presence in the UK.

“The group lacked Australia and Pacific Island connections so this will help Star Alliance in the UK,” he said.

The first tangible evidence of this is the two new members joining Star Alliance’s round-the-world fare scheme.

A ticket entitles passengers a maximum of 29,000 miles on any of the airlines at a lead-in price of ú1,149.