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Air New Zealand confirms lower fares for regional flights

Author
NZ Herald ,
Section
Business,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 26 February 2019, 2:28p.m.
Flying to the regions from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch has got cheaper. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Flying to the regions from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch has got cheaper. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Air New Zealand's slashing of regional air fares will see 750,000 seats a year available for less than $50.

The national carrier has revealed cheaper fares on 41 domestic routes in what is the biggest shake up of prices in more than a decade.

Fares between Tauranga and Auckland will start at $39, and flights from Tauranga to Wellington at $49.

The new fares can be purchased from today and will apply for travel from March 25.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the airline was "shrinking its lowest fares on 41 domestic routes meaning Kiwis will be able to fly within each island for as low as $39 and between the North Island and South Island for as low as $39".

"Regional New Zealand is one of the biggest winners out of today's announcement. Some of the great new Seat-only fares include Auckland to Gisborne or Kerikeri for $39 and Auckland to Blenheim or Nelson for $49," Luxon said.

The main centres. Source / Air NZ

The main centres. Source / Air NZ

"Fares on the airline's main trunk routes are also shrinking – Auckland-Christchurch and Auckland-Wellington now start at $49 one-way and Christchurch-Wellington from $39."

Slashing their domestic fares will bring their prices in line with what Jetstar offers on some local routes.

Yesterday the Herald reported Air New Zealand was working on a strategy to try and stimulate its domestic market, especially the regional routes, since it announced a profit downgrade last month.

Slashing their domestic fares will bring their prices in line with what Jetstar offers on some local routes.

New Zealand First MP Shane Jones welcomed the news, but warned it may not make a difference.

"There's no point having a very cheap fare at 11:30am or 13:30pm in the middle of the day and the fares continue to be horrendously large when most enterprises and people need to travel," Jones told the Herald today.

"It's no good having a cheap fare for Nana to visit the whānau whilst the day-to-day business [people] are choking with excessively high airfares."

Jones, who has long been a critic of Air New Zealand, said the move to lower domestic fares was overdue - and the regions had been getting a rough deal for quite some time.

"Economic activity has diminished in New Zealand but if these fares do make it more efficient and add to productivity the this is what I've always expected from New Zealand's national airline."

He said it was Air New Zealand's duty to offer affordable airfares for Kiwis.

"Those duties are not just about whizzing people about in and out of Chicago, it is about far more tedious matters of enabling people to travel at an affordable level out into the provinces and regions."

Air NZ last month slashed its full-year earnings forecast.

It cut pre-tax earnings guidance to a range of $340-$400 million for the June year due to slower-than-expected revenue growth. The company's share price has slumped since the move and the stock is currently trading at $2.65.

The cut sent shockwaves throughout the tourism industry that its golden run was coming to an end.

 

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