Airlines slash holiday-season fares

By Amelia Wade

With summer drawing near, travel agents are going all out to attract Kiwi travellers' business

Emirates has launched a range of fares to Europe through Dubai. Photo / Supplied
Emirates has launched a range of fares to Europe through Dubai. Photo / Supplied

Flight prices are being slashed as airlines and travel agents make the most of the holiday season drawing nearer.

Sales on airfares to Australia have dominated recent travel advertisements - one carrier was offering $100 off flights across the Ditch in a two-day sale.

However, airfares to Europe and Bali are also being offered for cheap and even cruise companies are getting in on the act.

House of Travel retail director, Brent Thomas, said this was the biggest season for the travel industry, particularly for long-haul flights.

And while there had been a drop in retail spending, New Zealanders found it hard to give up their overseas holidays, Mr Thomas said.

"Kiwis work bloody hard and they think they deserve a holiday so they make sure they budget for it."

Mr Thomas said they had seen an increase in passengers to almost all destinations, but the favourite was still Australia.

Included in the airfare sales are special offers which only last a couple of days, such as Virgin Australia's deal which offered $100 off flights to Australia for 48 hours. The sale ended at midnight on Tuesday.

Mr Thomas said airlines offered the limited time deals if they had a period with a lot of empty seats.

Emirates this week launched a range of fares for early bookers to travel next year to its 33 European destinations, served from New Zealand through Dubai.

The fares range from $2199 economy return to Lyon to $2599 economy return to London.

The travel period is between January 20 and March 31 and the fares are on sale until December 17. Cruiseabout is currently offering savings of $780 per couple on an 11-night cruise to Italy, Spain, Morocco and Portugal, with free upgrades being touted on other cruises.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand has announced it will operate a secondseason of Auckland to Bali services next year.

The airline said the service was added because of high passenger numbers during this year's season - particularly during the school holiday periods - and clear demand for a second season.

Air NZ group general manager for Australasia, Bruce Parton, said figures for this winter showed a 38 per cent increase in New Zealanders travelling to Bali compared with last year's winter.

"More than a third of our seats to Bali for the 2012 season sold within the first week so we're expecting them to be incredibly popular once again," he said.

A Boeing 767-300 aircraft will operate twice weekly non-stop from Auckland to Denpasar between June 1 to October 15 - three weeks longer than the season this year. Fares start from $599 one way for an economy class "seat" fare, or $1499 one-way for business class.

Flight deals on offer from Auckland

Flight Centre

From $2259 return to Paris on Air NZ

From $2365 return to Dublin on Emirates

From $2619 return to London on Singapore Airlines

House of Travel

From $129 one way to Melbourne on Emirates

From $187 one way to Sydney (above) or Brisbane on Emirates

United Travel

From $1225 return to Bangkok (left) on British Airways

From $159 one way to Sydney on LAN

From $1525 return to Los Angeles on Virgin Australia

- NZ Herald

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