18 August 2010

Jetstar's Plans Expanded

Jetstar says its prices will not increase - despite a major competitor leaving New Zealand's domestic airline market. Pacific Blue is pulling the pin on its domestic services from October, which leaves just Air New Zealand and Jetstar to battle it out. Qantas-owned budget airline Jetstar says it will expand its domestic service and have extra planes by the start of 2011. Jetstar spokesman Simon Westaway says New Zealand travellers can be assured they will keep the market competitive, although one of Pacific Blue's reasons for exiting was a lack of profit. Aviation analyst Rob Mercer says it is hard for any small airline to compete with Air New Zealand, which has 20 services a day between each of the main cities. He says history has proven the market is too small for three carriers with several different airlines failing in the domestic arena. Mercer said there has always been doubt Pacific Blue would be profitable and he believes its exit must result in fewer cheaper fares. Jetstar says it will grow its domestic operations to solidify its position as New Zealand's second airline. The airline will add two more A320 aircrafts to domestic routes within the next 12 months, bringing its total fleet of NZ-based aircraft to eight. A seventh aircraft will enter service in December 2010 with an eighth aircraft anticipated to commence by 2011. Jetstar Group Chief Executive Officer Bruce Buchanan said the company is committed to New Zealand. "We plan to further grow our existing domestic New Zealand routes and will investigate new destinations in line with our strong and expanding market presence since commencing domestic flying in June 2009." Buchanan said Jetstar would look to expand beyond its existing key airports of Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The seventh A320 will also support more trans-Tasman flying including the launch of Melbourne-Queenstown, Gold Coast-Queenstown and Auckland-Cairns routes, as well as incremental Auckland-Wellington and Auckland-Queenstown services.

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