Kirsty Wynn is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Rock bottom airfares sure to get Kiwis flying

Walking along The Bund in Shanghai has never been cheaper with record low fares of $699 return. Photo / Brian Fallow
Walking along The Bund in Shanghai has never been cheaper with record low fares of $699 return. Photo / Brian Fallow

That dream surfing trip to Hawaii or walking along The Bund in Shanghai could be a reality with the release of record low international airfares.

Flight Centre NZ has just announced all-time low prices with return fares to Hawaii or Shanghai from just $699.

"There has never been a better time to travel from New Zealand, it really is the 'golden era of travel"', said Flight Centre NZ managing director David Coombes.

He said New Zealanders could thank the increase of inbound tourists and low fuel prices for the plummeting prices.

Two years ago Air New Zealand was the sole carrier to Hawaii and fares were around $2500.

The latest fare of $699 signals a staggering drop of 72 per cent.

"In the last 12 months we've seen more carriers come to New Zealand so there is a lot more competition."

New Zealand's largest travel show, Travel Expo, is being held at Auckland's ASB Showgrounds this weekend, September 17 and 18, and Coombes said there would be some amazing deals available over the weekend.

Some of the record low fares include:
• Rarotonga return from $389pp flying Virgin Australia
• Sydney return from $355pp flying China Airlines
• Santiago, Chile, return for $1155pp flying LATAM Airlines
• Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo or Singapore return from $799pp flying China Southern Airlines
• London return from $1349pp ($1399 - current promotional discount of $50) flying Air China
• Paris return from $1249pp ($1299 - current promotional discount of $50) flying Air China.

"People can come along with a rough idea of where they want to go and get some great advice from the experts," Coombes said.

Aviation commentator Peter Clark told the Herald earlier this month he believed low prices would continue as new airlines - including Qatar, Tianjin and Hong Kong - would soon be coming to New Zealand.

"There are extraordinary deals to be had at the moment and competition for customers will surely only increase as new hubs to Europe open up," he said.

Sue Chetwin, chief executive of Consumer NZ, also believed Kiwi flyers would continue to be winners for some time yet.

"Brexit has not been all bad, especially for travelling Kiwis," she said.

"Combined with a very good exchange rate and low oil prices, the latest cheap flights are very good news for the public. I expect even more tempting fares will appear in the future as competition for customers continues to grow."

Australia, Europe and the United States are traditionally top destinations for Kiwi travellers, but Asia is tipped as a strong growth area.

This is partly due to the growth in inbound visitors and the number of new carriers entering the market.

"Once in Asia the world is the oyster for many Kiwis," Coombes said.

"They have access to even more airlines and are only one flight away from the UK/Europe, North, South and Central America and the Middle East."

Why travelling is cheaper

Hot competition

• Inbound tourism's booming and record numbers of Kiwis are travelling overseas.

• Airlines are pouring in capacity and use lower prices to fill planes.

• Eight new carriers have announced services here in the last year.

Relatively low oil prices

• Airlines have been saving billions during the past two years and are able to pass some of this on.

More efficient, better suited planes

• Airlines are rebuilding their fleets with new, more efficient planes, many of which are smaller than previously so are better suited to "long, thin routes" to New Zealand.

Different fare options

• Plenty of bare bones deals where you pay extra for just about everything.

How come they're not all cheap?

• The super-cheap headline fares are limited.

• If you're not booking in advance or around school and seasonal holidays you'll pay more.

- additional reporting Grant Bradley

- NZ Herald

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