Jetstar has confirmed it will cease five regional services in New Zealand at the end of November this year.
Gareth Evans, Jetstar's Chief Executive Officer, said today's confirmation comes after a consultation period with affected employees.
• Jetstar abandons regional routes: 20,000 passengers affected
• Comment | Jetstar regional routes axed: So long, and thanks for all the cheap flights
• Kate Hawkesby: The sad reality of Jetstar abandoning the regions
• Premium - Jetstar's flight from the regions: Unpacking the baggage
"We've been consulting with our team members over the past few weeks and today we're confirming our proposal to end flying on our regional turboprop routes," said Evans.
Jetstar has been flying from Auckland to Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth and Palmerston North as well as between Wellington and Nelson for the past four years, and its presence has been important for pulling down the cost of notoriously high fares on regional routes.
However, the airline has been unable to make money from these routes.
"As we explained when we announced our proposal in September, this decision is based on our regional operations continuing to be loss-making, combined with higher costs and a softening of the regional travel market," Said Evans
Evans acknowledged that regional travellers would be disappointed to hear the final decision.
"I'd like to thank our regional team members and our loyal regional travellers and stakeholders for all their support. We gave this network a real go over the past four years, but the commercial numbers just don't stack up to keep operating."
Earlier, Jeststar confirmed the move would affect as many as 20,000 customers of the airline.
Customers booked on Jetstar regional flights beyond 30 November 2019 are being offered a range of options including a full refund for their cancelled flight or the option to transfer their booking to any of Jetstar's other available domestic NZ services.
Air New Zealand has also stepped up to help affected passengers, offering to hold lead-in fares at current levels on the affected route for 12 months — assuming no steep fuel price increases.