Saturday, June 20, 2015

Shake-Up In The Stars!

Thursday's announcement by Jetstar, to start flights to regional destinations in December, will be a major shake-up for New Zealand domestic air travel.
The low-cost carrier will use five 50-seat Bombardier Q300 turbo-prop aircraft to service at least four regional centres initially. Cities being considered? Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Napier and Palmerston North in the North Island, and Nelson and Invercargill in the South Island.
The new flights will break Air NZ's stranglehold on flying large aircraft to regional centres.
Not surprisingly, Air NZ shares plunged by 9.8% following the news.
Air NZ pulled out of three regional towns earlier this year and is closing its Eagle Air operation, while putting bigger aircraft in to the bigger cities. Several small operators are considering filling the gaps, such as Ewan Wilson.
Jetstar Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka: "When we first started operations in NZ," (in 2009) "...domestic fares across the country dropped by around 40%, and we expect fares will drop considerably on the regional routes where we'll operate."
Jetstar managers would visit regional centres during the next two months to meet with airports, local government, and business, travel and tourism representatives to determine the first regional destinations.
Prime Munster John Key, who's also Tourism Minister, says the regions in New Zealand will be "openly cheering" Jetstar's expansion, adding that "competition keeps everyone on their toes." For once, Johnno and I are in agreement...

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