Jetstar is about to make a significant announcement on the expansion of its domestic operations in New Zealand and this could include services to cities off the main trunk.

The airline is not commenting on what will be revealed later today but using turbo props excess to needs of parent company Qantas has been flagged before.

Read also:
Qatar top airline, Air NZ best premium economy in awards
Consumer NZ lobbies Jetstar over 'opt out' pricing

Prime Minister John Key and Qantas head Alan Joyce will be at the announcement.


Jetstar has been flying New Zealand domestic routes since 2009 and across the Tasman since 2005.

On its domestic network it flies the main trunk using A320 jets to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.

A spokesman said the briefing today would be more than an expansion of its existing network.

Airports around the country have actively courted Jetstar in the hope it will fly to the regions and increase competition.

In 2013 the Business Herald revealed the budget carrier was assessing the viability of flying to the regions, using turbo-prop planes operated by Qantas on its regional routes in Australia.

Since then Jetstar has consolidated its jet network, claiming a market share of about 17 per cent by passenger numbers. The airline has carried close to nine million passengers on its domestic flights and is popular with leisure travellers in particular.

Air New Zealand has had a stranglehold on flying to regional centres but this year pulled out of three of its smaller destinations, Kaitaia, Whakatane and Westport and announced it would close its specialist regional subsidiary, Eagle Air and put on bigger planes to its remaining destinations.

Jetstar would also likely serve the bigger centres if it opts to get into regional flying.