This blog started off by focussing on NZ's smaller 3rd level airlines, past and present. It has evolved to trying to present some record of NZ's domestic airline operations and some of the larger charter operators, interesting NZ international airliner movements and photos I have taken around the country. Comments, corrections or contributions are welcome, Steve - email@example.com
Air New Zealand has made a $20,000 promise it will substantially reduce the number of "top" fares sold to its Taranaki passengers. These fares are the prices that usually apply the airline's most frequent fliers - business people - who are often required to travel at short notice. As a result, weekday flights often contain a number of disgruntled business passengers who have had to hand over several hundred dollars for their tickets. Most planes also carry passengers who have paid as little as $1 for their flights due to promotions such as the airline's Grabaseat. This frustration reached a head recently when Bruce Parton, Air New Zealand's group general manager for short-haul airlines, visited New Plymouth and faced criticism over the high cost of last-minute airfares. He has promised the airline will do something about it - and adds that if Air New Zealand doesn't maintain at least a 40 per cent reduction in the number of top fares sold out of New Plymouth, it will donate $20,000 to a charity nominated by mayor, Peter Tennent. In a message emailed to Taranaki customers, Mr Parton says the airline has been trialling a new pricing strategy on flights from New Plymouth to Christchurch. "It's a plan that has significantly reduced the number of customers paying higher fares on this route. "As a result of your feedback, I have asked my team to implement the same pricing strategy for flights from New Plymouth to Wellington and Auckland. I am confident this will deliver the same benefits it has to customers flying to Christchurch." Mr Parton says that to ensure these changes are locked in place, Air New Zealand intends showing its price statistics to Mr Tennent and will review them in six months. If it doesn't achieve the promised 40 per cent reduction, it will make the $20,000 donation. An email from the airline's communications department late on Friday said revenue management was a fine balance between yield and volume. Twelve months ago some revenue management changes were made to the New Plymouth-Christchurch route to tweak that balance. "Following the success of that change, we are now implementing the same approach for flights from New Plymouth to Auckland and Wellington, which is resulting in more lower fares," the statement said. Air New Zealand recently cut its cheapest domestic airfares by up to 23 per cent in an effort to stimulate domestic travel. The airline also simplified its fare structure to two options - Smart Saver fares, which do not allow flights to be changed without an extra charge, and more expensive Flexi Plus fares which do allow flights to be changed. The statement said the Flexi Plus fares start at substantially lower levels than the previous Full Flexi fares, with reductions averaging 32 per cent. The airline said that on the Auckland- New Plymouth route the cheapest Smart Saver fare is now $69 which is 5 per cent less than beforehand, while the lead-in Flexi Plus fare is now $159, which is 31 per cent lower than the equivalent Fully Flexi fare which was $232. For the Christchurch-New Plymouth route the new Smart Saver lead-in fare is $99 which is 23 per cent lower, while the lowest Flexi Plus fare is now $229 which is 39 per cent cheaper than the previous $374. On the Wellington-New Plymouth route the cheapest Smart Saver fare is $69, a reduction of 13 per cent, while the new Flexi Plus lead-in fare is $169, 36 per cent cheaper than the previous $263. To test things out, yesterday the Taranaki Daily News checked the Air New Zealand internet site for the cheapest fares on offer for today. For the Auckland service the cheapest Smart Saver fare was $101 and Flexi Plus fares ranged from $161 to $261. For the Christchurch service there were no Smart Saver fares on offer, while the Flexi Plus fares ranged from $299 to $401. And for the Wellington service the cheapest Smart Saver fare - for one flight only - was $151, while Flexi Plus fares ranged from $171 to $275.