Jetstar offering $1 fares for NZ debut

By Grant Bradley

Australian budget airline Jetstar is offering limited $1 fares to kick off its expansion into the New Zealand domestic market and the replacement of Qantas here.

Jetstar's entry on to domestic routes will mean almost a third more seats than with Qantas but will result in the withdrawal of services from Rotorua.

Qantas flies five times a week out of the city but Jetstar said there were payload restrictions on the bigger planes it would operate.

The number of seats between other main trunk destinations will grow from just under 21,000 a week to around 30,000 a week.

The airline is due to start flying main trunk routes between four airports - Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown - from June 10 with 84 weekly return services using Airbus A320s.

Special web fares from $1 one way on all of its new domestic New Zealand routes for a strictly limited period commencing at noon today will be available until 2pm depending on demand.

The offer is for travel between July 22 and September 22 and the fares are subject to availability on selected days and flights and exclude public and school holidays.

One woman who tried booking said she managed to get $13 each way fare from Auckland to Wellington return shortly after midday but was hit with an additional $80 credit card fee and $20 booking fee.

" I didn't go ahead with my booking."

Jetstar has been flying across the Tasman from Christchurch for the past three years and from the end of April is due to add services to Sydney and the Gold Coast from a base in Auckland.

Jetstar's entry in to the domestic New Zealand aviation market would result in up to 250 direct jobs under a newly established subsidiary.

By June Jetstar will base a fleet of six A320s here, spread evenly between Christchurch and Auckland to support the carrier's domestic New Zealand and transtasman operations.

Qantas will continue to fly across the Tasman from New Zealand and is upgrading its fleet although the number of seats will remain about the same.

Jetstar will replace existing Qantas domestic services, and the change means Qantas will no longer offer services to Rotorua.

Further changes include a new international schedule to and from New Zealand:

- changes to timing of the daily Auckland-Los Angeles service to provide a connection to Qantas' daily New York service;

- Melbourne-Auckland services increasing from two to three flights per day;

- Sydney-Auckland services increasing from four to five flights per day;

- cancellation of weekend services between Brisbane and Wellington.

The remainder of the Qantas' trans-Tasman services will remain unchanged.

Jetstar still needs regulatory approval to start new services.


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