Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce complains Jetstar has been unfairly targeted -

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce says subsidiary Jetstar gets a disproportionately hard time in public because of poor perception of budget carriers.

"There's a little bit of a thing around low-cost carriers," he said in Auckland today.

"All airlines around the world have customer service issues - you learn from them you improve on them but to say they're unique to Jetstar is misinforming the public."

Jetstar had operational issues leading to delays when it first started flying jets domestically in New Zealand and its regional operations had a bumpy start during summer. Low cost carriers generally have fewer aircraft at their disposal and leaner staffing meaning operational, mechanical and weather problems could have a greater impact on schedules than for full service carriers.

Joyce said full service airlines also have issues. "It will happen with Air New Zealand and Qantas . I see them all the time - it's what you do to improve and learn from it.

Jetstar does take these issues seriously, he said.

"When it gets it wrong it does apologise."

Joyce said the regional flights had been affected by teething problems around new crew, ground handling and unfamiliar airports but on time performance had recovered to 80 per cent during the past week and all flights were on time yesterday.

Runway works at Auckland Airport had had a big impact on performance but these had been stopped and punctuality had improved.

Jetstar launched regional flights last December and now flies to Napier, New Plymouth Palmerston North and Nelson and Joyce said air fares were down by around 40 per cent of what they had been before competition.

More routes would be considered.

"When the time is right we'll be approaching them again and giving them the appropriate level of service but you need to bed down what you have and build the foundation."

It is also expanding transtasman with a daily winter evening service between Melbourne and Queenstown during the ski season when night flying to the southern resort town is possible.

Using Qantas to fly to Queenstown was also possible in the future, said Joyce.

- NZ Herald

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