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Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Air fare bonanza spreads to the pointy end

Business class fares have dropped to what Flight Centre says is a record low with some return flights aboard Cathay Pacific dropping to $3399 return to London.

That was almost 40 per cent below the best business class fare on offer through the agent yesterday.

The fare is for Cathay's Auckland to London Gatwick service in November and is part of a trend which has seen economy fares to Europe fall as low $1259 return as competition intensifies.

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Flight Centre NZ general manager product Sean Berenson said in the last 12 months there has been a significant influx of new carriers, routes and increased capacity.

This had driven a frenzy of sales activity, great news for consumers, particularly as it's now moving into the premium cabins.

"To fly to London in business class for what would have once been considered an economy class price point is amazing, it offers the opportunity for our customers to be able to consider a style of travel that would have once felt out of reach for many."

Cathay Pacific is facing intense competition within this region with Hong Kong Airlines and two new mainland Chinese carriers - Hainan Airlines and Tainjin Airlines - about to start flying to New Zealand within the next three months.

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Cathay is introducing the world's newest widebody plane, the Airbus A350, to the Auckland-Hong Kong route from the end of this month and the new aircraft fly on to London.

Berenson said that with increased affordability airlines have turned their focus toward passenger wellbeing and comfort by getting new planes and this trend would continue.

Andy Jack, general manager of corporate travel management company FCM Travel Solutions, said the move to a better flight experience was particularly good news for business travellers.

"With many of our clients only visiting destinations for short periods of time it's important they arrive well rested. With advancements in new technologies and increased affordability meaning many will now be able to consider flying in premium classes, it's a great step forward for New Zealand business travel."

- NZ Herald

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