[WELLINGTON] Australia-based Jetstar Airlines on Monday announced it would increase the number of regional routes offered in New Zealand as the unit owned by Qantas Airways chips away at competitor Air New Zealand's dominance in its domestic market.
Jetstar launched new services from Auckland, the country's largest city, to Napier, New Plymouth, and Palmerston North in the country's North Island, along with flights to Nelson in the South Island from Auckland and Wellington. "We believe the routes we've announced today offer the strongest opportunities to grow the market and make a real difference to local economies and locals' wallets, encouraging more travel and saving people money when they fly," Jetstar New Zealand head Grant Kerr said in a statement.
Flights will be priced from NZ$45-NZ$49 (S$41-S$45) for one-way fares, roughly 45 per cent less than current Air New Zealand fares to many of the destinations. Services will be rolled out beginning December.
The new flights will expand Jetstar's routes and crank up airfare price competition in New Zealand, where Air New Zealand commands a near monopoly on regional flights. Jetstar already operates flights between Auckland, Wellington and other larger centres.
Air New Zealand has been lowering its fares on some of its routes to better compete with Jetstar, as capacity growth on its domestic routes slows. After announcing record annual profits last week, the company said it was prepared to take on increased competition in the domestic market.