Speculation that Napier will be on Jetstar's new list of destinations and that it could include new routes aren't enough to force the economy-fare airline into an early take-off with its announcement of new regional services this year.

A spokesman, sticking to the schedule set in June, said: "We're not in a position to announce the destinations or the routes at this stage. However we'll be doing so within weeks."

Qantas subsidiary Jetstar announced in June that Hawke's Bay Airport was among seven regional airports from which it would add four to its schedule for new services beginning in December.

While the National Business Review rates Napier well down the list of seven, with Nelson and Palmerston North at the top, Hawke's Bay air services commentator and Hastings District councillor Simon Nixon says Napier "has to be" in the top two, and predicts Jetstar's ex-Qantas Bombardier Q300 50-seater aircraft will soon be seen in the local skies.


A Jetstar service in and out of Hawke's Bay would probably target lower fares on flights to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, with speculation growing since Qantas announced this month it would have 110 extra transtasman flights from December to February, mainly involving Wellington, Christchurch and Brisbane.

However, there has been some conjecture it could trial a revival of such routes as Napier-Hamilton, once flown by Eagle Air, before it became a subsidiary of Air New Zealand, and by 1960s flier SPANZ.