31 Aug 2015

New Jetstar routes will create 100 jobs

7:49 pm on 31 August 2015

A price war has broken out between the country's top airlines, with Air New Zealand stepping in to offer $9 fares to the destinations which were snubbed by Jetstar.

Earlier today, the Qantas subsidiary announced it will be flying to Napier, New Plymouth, Nelson and Palmerston North from Auckland and Wellington.

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Photo: 123rf.com

The announcement also included that the company would be offering a $9 fare to celebrate the launch of the new destinations.

Jetstar's website crashed shortly after the new routes were released, and the four-hour offer was extended until 3pm today.

Jetstar said it was watching the four regional centres - Rotorua, Hamilton, Tauranga and Invercargill - that missed out on the new routes it announced today.

Jetstar chief executive David Hall said the company believed those centres will benefit the most initially from low fare stimulation.

He said the new routes announced today will create 100 new jobs - includIng pilots, cabin crew and ground team members

Mr Hall said there was a hiccup with its website which had now been rectified, and the four-hour sale resumed from the time the website was brought back up this morning.

He said the $9 tickets sold well, and that it reaffirmed Jetstar's commitment to bringing low fares to regional New Zealand, "and we've even bought low fares to markets where we don't currently operate, so that's fantastic for regional New Zealand".

"We're all about bringing fares down, and it's interesting to see our competitor match those fares even in markets where we don't operate."

The Prime Minister said there was nothing stopping government departments and agencies from choosing Jetstar over Air New Zealand, in the regional routes both airlines are operating on.

The Labour Party said the Government should use its purchasing power to promote competition on those regional routes.

It said the Government spent tens of millions of dollars on airfares each year, and should ensure it has the best price available.

John Key said the government set up a procurement plan in 2011 for preferred airlines.

"It did that to get the best deal for the taxpaper - my understanding is that that included Air New Zealand and about four other carriers, one assumes because they're using them internationally.

"Jetstar chose not actually to be part of that process, and the estimated savings over that five year period up until now are about $28 million," he said.