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Current as of 23/09/16 07:39PM NZST
Kim Fulton is a NZME. News Service regional reporter

Travellers snapping up a bargain after Air NZ drops fares

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said lower fuel costs, an expanded fleet and increased competition would pull down domestic and international prices. Photo / Alan Gibson
Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said lower fuel costs, an expanded fleet and increased competition would pull down domestic and international prices. Photo / Alan Gibson

Travellers nationwide are snapping up cheap overseas flights after Air New Zealand cut airfares to several popular destinations this week.

A group of Hawke's Bay friends will celebrate a milestone on the beaches of Hawaii, thanks to Air New Zealand's cheap airfares.

Napier residents Jan and Steve Clark bought their tickets to Hawaii this week because they'd heard there was an airfare deal coming out and "jumped at the chance".

The Clarks and two other couples will make the trip to celebrate their 50th birthdays.

Ms Clark said just one of the group was not turning 50 this year.

"We'd all talked about doing something special, and then someone said 'Hawaii Five-0' and it just stuck."

The couples aren't the only people making the most of Air New Zealand's cheap fares.

Grabaseat this week offered return flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco for $788, to Houston for $848 and to Shanghai for $798.

An Air New Zealand spokesperson said 640 seats, or 320 return trips, across to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Tokyo and Shanghai were made available on its Grabaseat website on Wednesday morning.

More than 200 trips had been snapped up by late Wednesday afternoon.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said lower fuel costs, an expanded fleet and increased competition would pull down domestic and international prices.

Harvey World Travel Tauranga owner and manager David Cull said a range of airlines were offering good prices as a result of the low fuel prices and more efficient aircraft.

People shouldn't expect fares to continue to get lower and lower but should book their trips when they'd decided on their dates to avoid missing out.

Mr Cull said the recent low fares were as good as he'd seen for a long time.

House of Travel Whanganui director Michael O'Malley said fares to Europe, the Pacific and Australia were "as good as you get" and in line with the same time in previous years.

House of Travel had been booking a lot of flights to Australia and the Pacific Islands for early winter.

Mr O'Malley said availability affected pricing and lower fares would be harder to get as the year progressed.

"The earlier you get in, the better choice of dates you've got to get on those fares."

World Travellers Masterton owner Lisa Falk said some were talking about travel but holding out for even better deals.

She said there were always good deals on flights to Australia but cheap long haul flights were harder to come by.

There was a lot of competition between airlines at the moment, which was helping to bring prices down, though the specials didn't typically last long.

Galaxy Travel Rotorua owner Joanna Corbett said there had been a huge increase in people going to the US in the last year.

A new flight to Houston had been particularly popular.

Air New Zealand and Hawaiian Airlines had also offered sales on fares to Hawaii.

Ms Corbett said recent airfares were some of the cheapest she'd seen.

Low fuel prices and competition were expected to keep the fares low.

Whangarei's Harvey World Travel owner Lynne Bennett said Air New Zealand had offered a number of deals recently and Northlanders were travelling all over the place.

"We're way busier in January than we are normally."

She said she thought another round of cheap airfares would come out in the next week or so including UK and Europe fares.

"It will be interesting to see what they come out and look like."

Jennings United Travel Napier owner Stephen Jennings said many had been waiting for good deals and were now taking advantage of them and making some good savings.

Mr Jennings said the cheap flights had been on par with recent years and he hoped fuel costs and airfares would remain low.

- Additional reporting Victoria White

- NZME.

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