Jetstar will fly to Napier from December.
The Qantas-owned low-cost airline announced this morning that it will be introducing services into regional New Zealand, with destinations now including Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth and Palmerston North.
Jetstar NZ boss Grant Kerr said it had "been nice to feel so welcomed and he has been impressed by the energy and the diversity of the communities" he had visited as part of the decision-making process.
"If I had enough aircraft I'd like to go to all eight of them."
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Hawke's Bay Tourism General Manager Annie Dundas welcomed the news: "This is huge news for Hawke's Bay, it's a complete game changer for tourism growth opportunities". "Competitive airfares are good for domestic tourism but this will also open up international connections to Australia too."
The Mayors of Napier and Hastings said the result was the ultimate reward for the regional team behind the pitch. "This is simply wonderful to hear Jetstar will be flying here," said Napier Mayor Bill Dalton. "The team worked hard and showed Jetstar we are a region on the up with plenty of untapped potential."
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said."This is been a long awaited prize. The only way to substantially reduce the price of airfares for the people of Hawke's Bay is by competition. It is very exciting that we have landed a large player".
Tukituki MP Craig Foss said he was rapt with the news that JetStar will be servicing Hawke's Bay.
"Hawke's Bay families and businesses are already winners. Lower airfares and more choice is important to all our industries, especially tourism," Mr Foss said.
"This is a real vote of confidence in our region.
"Our 'Hawke's Bay Supports JetStar Flights' Facebook page, which got more than 15,000 'likes', has beaten the competition - and now we have more airline competition.
"The people of Hawke's Bay sent a strong message to JetStar and that message was heard loud and clear. C'mon the Bay!"
Business Hawke's Bay CEO Susan White: "Business Hawke's Bay is thrilled with Jetstar's decision. We welcome having two sustainable carriers servicing the region. We are convinced this will contribute to the growth of our regional economy and we look forward to the expansion of routes over time."
With expansion plans already underway, Hawke's Bay Airport Chief Executive Nick Story said the timing couldn't be better. "We are delighted to be welcoming Jetstar, a significant new customer, to the Airport. It's a very exciting day for the Airport Company and a great day for the Hawke's Bay Region."
The news was also welcomed by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges.
"It's great to see increased air competition into some of our key regional centres. Transport linkages are crucial for regional development and these new air linkages will help boost business and tourism traffic into regions like Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Nelson and Manawatu/Whanganui," Mr Joyce said.
"I know it's been a very competitive process between the different regions for the opportunity to host the new carrier. I'm confident that this expansion of regional routes will be successful and lead to more competition on regional routes in the future. Competitive air travel into regional New Zealand will help share the benefits of economic development and tourism around the country."
"Today's announcement is great news for consumers," said Mr Bridges.
"As we have seen in recent years, competition between Air New Zealand and Jetstar has ensured passengers travelling on main-trunk routes have had access to lower fares and more choice. So this announcement means new services will bring these same benefits to regional communities throughout New Zealand."
"Today's announcement from Jetstar is just one of a number of new international and regional air services announced in recent months. These new services are a real vote of confidence in our aviation sector and the future prospects of regional New Zealand." Mr Bridges said.
Yesterday the Mayor of Napier Bill Dalton expressed confidence that Jetstar would include Napier in its new regional schedule.
Jetstar announced in June it was investigating starting services in and out of Napier, Hamilton, Rotorua, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Nelson and Invercargill, with four to be chosen for flights starting in December.