Under siege Jetstar announces new services

New domestic airline Jetstar launched a daily service between Wellington and Christchurch today, following a horror start to operations two weeks ago.

The daily Wellington-Christchurch route marked the "full realisation of the airline's launch schedule", chief executive Bruce Buchanan said.

The airline also announced additional Auckland-Wellington and Auckland-Christchurch services and a "lowest fare finder" application on the its website.

The application was a "simple and easy-to-use tool" which showed the lowest fare on any given day, he said.

Air New Zealand today said it was offering $50 one-way tickets to help out frustrated Jetstar customers.

It said the fares would be available to Jetstar customers left stranded by the airline's 30-minute check-in policy or delayed by more than two hours.

A storm of criticism erupted on Saturday after Auckland rugby fans booked on a Jetstar flight to Wellington for the All Blacks' test were left behind.

The airline said the passengers had arrived at the airport eight minutes before the flight was due to leave, while the passengers said they had complied with the 30-minute requirement.

Jetstar executive manager commercial David Koczkar said it was "ironic" that it was only after Jetstar's entry into the New Zealand market that Air NZ decided to offer customers low fares - "and not even to their own customers, but to ours"'.

"We thank Air New Zealand for finally supporting the concept of truly low fare travel."

However, he did not comment on the problems the budget airline had faced since its entry into the New Zealand market.

Mr Buchanan said Jetstar offered "award-winning service" and the introduction of another aircraft was an opportunity to refine scheduling.

"Importantly this includes better timed services, more time buffers throughout the operating day to recovery from weather related delays and longer block and turn times," he said.

- NZPA

- NZ Herald

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