Qantas is adding thousands of extra seats to its transtasman services in early spring as its subsidiary Jetstar moves ahead with plans for regional services.
Qantas said it will operate 44 additional services across the Tasman between September 16 and October 11 to meet extra demand.
"The extra seasonal services deliver on our strategy of offering a more dynamic schedule to provide customers with more choice at the time of year they want to travel," said Qantas Regional Manager New Zealand and South America, Igor Kwiatkowski.
The new services would add 7300 more seats across the Tasman, using Boeing 737 aircraft. Most of the flights (13) would be between Auckland and Sydney.
Qantas operates more than 200 flights a week between New Zealand and Australia, including services between Auckland and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; Wellington and Melbourne; and Christchurch and Sydney.
A research note from Credit Suisse shows that while there has been some weakness on demand on the Tasman since Easter, the six months to the end of March showed record or close to record loads.
The firm says that Qantas and Emirates load factors had exceeded those of Air New Zealand in the period. Passenger growth in the Qantas-Emirates alliance was 8.1 per cent.
The Air New Zealand-Virgin Australia alliance has nearly 51 per cent of transtasman capacity share while Qantas-Emirates has 46 per cent.
Other airlines on the route include Chile's LAN and Taiwan's China Airlines which today also announced a seasonal increase in transtasman flying. It will operate services between Christchurch and Melbourne this summer.
Credit Suisse said improved demand on the Tasman could also encourage increased use of widebody planes by Air New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Jetstar today announced its New Zealand domestic passengers can now earn Qantas Points as it builds up to fly to four regional destinations from December.
Jetstar executives have held meetings with local representatives from Nelson and Rotorua this week and will visit other potential destinations next week.
Other centres in the running for Jetstar regional flights are Hamilton, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North and Invercargill.