Jetstar isn't going to relinquish its position as New Zealand's most affordable airline without a fight.
Following on from Air New Zealand's announcement yesterday that it was cutting its regional air fares, Jetstar has now announced that it will beat any comparable flight by 10 per cent.
"When you're shopping online for flights, if you find a flight with another airline, or a Jetstar flight on an eligible third party website that's cheaper than you can get on Jetstar.com, we'll beat it by 10 per cent," said a statement yesterday from James Stafford, the manager of New Zealand sales at Jetstar.
This clearly sets up a price war between the airlines - and consumers are set to benefit.
After substantial media hype, Air New Zealand announced yesterday that its price cuts would make 750,000 regional flight seats available a year for less than $50.
The national carrier has revealed cheaper fares on 41 domestic routes in what is the biggest shake-up of prices in more than a decade.
Fares between Tauranga and Auckland will start at $39, and flights from Tauranga to Wellington at $49.
Subtract from this a further 10 per cent discount from Jetstar and those prices could potentially drop further.
Jetstar flies regularly flies to Christchurch, Dunedin, Napier, New Plymouth, Nelson, Palmerston North, Wellington and Queenstown - meaning these will be the routes with the highest levels of competition.
Jetstar is currently offering a wide range of domestic fares for under $50, including Wellington-Nelson from $29 one-way, Auckland-New Plymouth from $32 one-way, Auckland-Napier from $35, and Auckland-Wellington from $39.
Jetstar's Chief Customer Officer Catriona Larritt noted that Jetstar has already made a point of selling affordable flights.
"Despite having a significantly smaller domestic fleet, less than a fifth of the size of our competitor, last year we sold nearly 600,000 domestic fares for under $50 and more than 1.75 million domestic fares for under $100," she said.
Air New Zealand has initiated the price slash in an attempt to promote domestic tourism. And the move has already been welcomed by the tourism industry in the regions.
Air New Zealand head of tourism and regional affairs Reuben Levermore pointed to the Blenheim-Auckland route as one of the standout winners, with the lead-in seat fare dropping by $34.
"Not only will it be even more affordable for locals to explore the rest of New Zealand direct out of Blenheim, these new fares will help bring more of the benefits of tourism to the area by encouraging visitors to discover everything Marlborough has to offer," Levermore said.
Air New Zealand's new flights are already available for purchase and apply from March 25.