Travellers are the likely winners as a new strategic alliance between Air New Zealand and Air China gets the official sign-off.
The two airlines signalled their intentions to enter into an alliance when China's President Xi Jinping visited New Zealand late last year.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has now signed the authorisation, after it was approved by cabinet.
The new alliance will compete with existing services operated by China Southern, China Eastern and Cathay Pacific.
"This alliance means travellers will be able to access more flights and lower fares between New Zealand and Beijing and Shanghai, ensuring they have access to a greater range of choices," Mr Bridges said.
"In addition to expanding services, the alliance will mean Air China will actively market New Zealand as a visitor destination."
China is New Zealand's second largest tourist market behind Australia and visitor arrivals are expected to double in the next five years.