01 December 2015

Jetstar's Regional Services Take to the Air

Jetstar's regional flights to Napier and Nelson took off this morning. Inaugural flights were operated by Bombardier Q300 VH-SBI.


At exactly 9 this morning applause broke out in the ranks of Jetstar's ground and terminal teams as the airline's first regional New Zealand flight took to the air from Napier to Auckland. "This is an exciting day for regional airlines in New Zealand," was how Jetstar's head of New Zealand services Grant Kerr put it. "It is a very special day for us and a very special day for Hawke's Bay because to start flying regionally in New Zealand is something we have been looking to do for some time - and now we are." Jetstar's CEO David Hall was also on hand for what he called a historic moment and a timely one, as exactly 10 years ago Jetstar commenced its first international service into New Zealand. "Now we are flying Q300s regionally here as well," he said. "So New Zealand holds a special place in our hearts." He said the passion and determination the Hawke's Bay's business, tourism and political community had voiced for Jetstar to fly to the region had been impressive and it was an important market for the airline to pursue. "We are in it for the long term." Tuki Tuki MP and associate transport minister Craig Foss said the arrival of Jetstar was vital for the region as it introduced choice and competition, which meant lower priced fares and the ability for more people to fly between Napier and Auckland. He told the gathering of guests who had assembled for the official launch of the new service that Jetstar did not have to come to the Bay. "There had to be a business case to come here and the numbers were there." He said as they did in rugby, Hawke's Bay liked a bit of solid competition. "And now we've got that," he said. "This is a magic day - it is win-win for everyone." Hawke's Bay Airport CEO Nick Story echoed the value of competition and said it was exciting to welcome a new airline to the region. "Jetstar brings choice to our community and that can only be great news and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with them." For Tourism Hawke's Bay general manager Annie Dundas said it was now up to the people of Hawke's Bay to support the newcomer as the benefits could be huge. "We will have an extra 100 people a day coming into the Bay now." As well, it opened links through the Jetstar's international partners Qantas and Emirates. The 50-seater Q300 aircraft was blessed by local kaumatua before take-off and despite the gloomy conditions across the runaway there was a clear and bright feeling to the day.


Jetstar's first flight into Nelson was a little late but was met with a rousing welcome. The flight from Auckland touched down on Tuesday afternoon about 20 minutes late because of weather conditions. Jetstar's New Zealand corporate communications manager Phil Boeyen said the flight was "fantastic". "[There were] wonderful people on board, everyone had some great bargains, [there were] people who had scored $9 flights." The flight was welcomed by Mayor Rachel Reese, Archdeacon Andy Joseph and Broadgreen Intermediate School's kapa haka group. Boeyen said the school's welcome was brilliant. "The roof soared off... It was a really fantastic welcome to Nelson." The airline will fly return flights three times a day between Nelson and Auckland, expanding to four times a day from February 1. Return flights from Nelson to Wellington will also commence in February. Nelson was chosen as a destination after Jetstar ran a social media campaign to determine support. The other locations are New Plymouth, Napier and Palmerston North. Passenger Annemie Dupont from Belgium, who was in Nelson for paragliding and walking the Abel Tasman Track, said the flight was good. "It was quite entertaining, very surprising. I had no idea it was the first flight." She said she would be happy to fly with Jetstar again. "Everything went really smoothly." Mayor Rachel Reese said welcoming another airline to an increasingly busy airport was good news for the region. "Nelsonians really got behind the campaign to bring Jetstar to our region, and I'm delighted that Jetstar have been able to deliver a service that people so clearly want to support," she says. "The addition of Jetstar services in and out of Nelson will translate into a significant economic benefit for the region, opening up new markets and increasing connectivity."

Warwick Young captured the festive atmosphere in the Nelson terminal

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