Air New Zealand is likely to bring back its popular Night Rider flights in the future after canning them from the end of this month.

The airline is coming in for critcism for quietly doing away with the late night flights between Auckland and Wellington and Auckland and Christchurch.

The Auckland-Wellington seats sold for $29 and were launched in late 2012 with fanfare by former chief executive Rob Fyfe who donned a Knight Rider style leather jacket for the occasion. Auckland-Christchurch seats sold for $39 and the flights were launched as a summer service.

Night Rider flights were a way of meeting head-on Jetstar's growing presence on the main trunk Air New Zealand would have struggled to make a profit on the flights.


The airline's new chief executive Christopher Luxon said the services were tactical.

"We don't make tremendous amounts of money. For us it's a great promotional vehicle to stimulate demand into various markets at different times and we'll continue to think about where and when we next use them," he said.

The flights had succeeded in stimulating the markets but were not a permanent ticket class.

"If we think there's a region in the country we'd love to see stimulated we'll use them in that way," he said.

Late-night flights didn't suit everyone and the airline had other promotions including which would mean two million seats selling for under $100 this year, Luxon said.