01 September 2015

Regional reaction to the new Jetstar services - The Winners


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." 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.


Nelson civic and business leaders have reacted with delight to news that Jetstar is coming to Nelson, ushering in a new era of competition and cheaper flights. Locals are also planning to capitalise on the new low cost routes. The airline announced this morning that it would begin flying Nelson-Auckland in December and Nelson-Wellington in February as it enters the regional market. With Originair already flying Nelson-Palmerston North and soon to move into the Wellington market, and Kiwi International promising cheap domestic flights when it takes off, regional air travel looks set more competition for passenger dollars than ever before. Nelson Airport chief executive Rob Evans said the announcement was "the game-changer for regional New Zealand and particularly for Nelson". "We've been the big winner, we've got both Auckland and Wellington in the initial phase, the only destination to have two new routes." He said Jetstar would fly 27 Auckland-Nelson  flights a week from December 1 this year, and 21 Nelson-Wellington flights  from February 1 next year.  That equated to 249,500 new seats in and out of Nelson over 12 months.  "It's a huge investment from their perspective. "We've got the capacity we've been demanding and the cheaper air rates, we've now got to jump on board and use them."​ Evans said Air New Zealand was "a magnificent airline" with a lot of capacity and a good loyal customer base, and would respond to the challenge. "This is good for the consumer." He said the announcement gave the airport company the impetus it needed for its plan to redevelop or replace the 40-year-old Nelson Airport.  Nelson MP Nick Smith said it was "fantastic news" for Nelson, which depended on its links with other parts of New Zealand. "Studies show that on average air fares are 30 per cent less where there is effective competition and that amounts to millions of dollars of savings and thousands more visitors to Nelson." Smith said the Jetstar's link was important to the visitor industry but the biggest gain for Nelson was making nationwide businesses viable in Nelson and for people to be able to easily connect across the country through more competitive air services. He was "pretty loyal" to Air New Zealand, a good company that deserved credit for its substantial investment in maintenance services in Nelson. "But I still believe the region's overall benefit is in having a choice of services," ​Smith said. Nelson Tasman Tourism  chief executive Lynda Keene said the increased competition was "really great news"' for Nelson and Tasman residents. Grandparents who travelled  once a year might be able to go three or four times. "It's definitely going to open up a lot more opportunities." It was also really exciting from a business perspective, she said. "We're really fortunate to have a lot of frequency with Air New Zealand which has been a wonderful contributor to the region, but Jetstar coming in is going to make it a bit easier for people coming out of Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch, particularly for trans-Tasman services." With Originair and Kiwi International joining the regional competition, "it's raining planes", Keene said.  Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said the city had got behind the campaign to bring Jetstar to Nelson and many  people would be celebrating the news, which would bring a significant economic benefit for the region. All agree that Jetstar will face stiff competition from Air New Zealand, which announced last week that it will slash two million flights to below $100 over the next year. Nelson's once-thriving regional airline Origin Pacific went under in 2006 owing $21 million. Brutal competitive tactics by Air New Zealand were widely blamed. More than 200 staff lost their jobs. The announcement adds further heat to the Nelson air travel market with Originair having started on the Nelson-Palmerston North route earlier this month, and Kiwi Regional Airlines announcing it will be offering $79 tickets from Nelson to Hamilton and Dunedin from October 28. Joy Davenport said on Facebook that the announcement would not stop her from flying Air New Zealand. "But with a little competition, I'm hoping the prices of flights will come down."

New Plymouth

Jetstar's announcement it would add Taranaki to its regional network from early next year has delighted travellers... The announcement would see parts of the New Plymouth District Council's planned development of the airport brought forward. Hall said Jetstar was delivering on its commitment to bring low fares and increased competition to communities around the country. "We believe the routes we've announced today offer the strongest opportunities to grow the market and make a real difference to local economies and locals' wallets, encouraging more travel and saving people money when they fly," he said. To celebrate the new routes Jetstar offered special $9 one-way regional launch fares for travel between December 1 to 15 and February 2 to March 21 and May 4 to June 29. Regular one-way lead-in fares on the new regional services are $45 Nelson-Wellington and New Plymouth-Auckland and $49 on the three other routes. Air New Zealand was quick to respond matching the $9 fares on its "grabaseat" website. Mayor Andrew Judd said the decision was great news for the region. "Having both Air New Zealand and Jetstar operating out of New Plymouth will give passengers more choice and more opportunity to afford to fly, and give visitors even more reasons to come here," Judd said. The council's planned extensions to the airport's terminal, the runway apron for aircraft parking and the public car park, were due to start in May 2016. The work on both the apron and car park extensions, however, would be brought forward to accommodate Jetstar's business, and a temporary building would be installed along from the Airspresso cafe to serve as Jetstar's terminal. Jetstar would move into the extended terminal once it is completed in mid-2017. New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young welcomed the announcement saying it was a big win for the city and the region. "For quite some time now we've hoped we would get the nod for more flights, so it's great to know that's now going to happen," Young said. "More flights to New Plymouth means more visitors, more tourists and greater opportunities for the area and it's always good to see healthy competition in the market." Aleisha Pelham said she'd been waiting a long time for Jetstar's decision. "It's good cause it will bring more competition and I can have more options for flights," Pelham said. She said her partner's family lived in Auckland and they regularly took their two-year-old daughter, Kahurangi, to visit them in the holidays. "I would like to do more flights, it's faster for my daughter rather than four hours in a car. "It would just make it a lot easier, I would have gone this weekend if it was ready to go." Kahurangi was excited about the chance to go on a plane. "It's my turn," she said with a beaming smile. "She has been waiting to go on an airplane for quite a while and she is always asking," Pelham said. Taranaki Rugby Football Union ceo Mike Collins said while Air New Zealand offered a good service the arrival of Jetstar would benefit travellers. "To have another carrier and another option I think it's good for the entire community." Reid McAlister, of Opunake but living in Melbourne, welcomed the news saying it would mean more competition. "It will be way better than paying what it costs nowadays," McAlister said. Christchurch's John Gray said it was about time Jetstar added more regional routes because it would bring cheaper flights. "I will be still flying Air New Zealand but I'm very have to have the competition," Gray, who has family in Taranaki, said. Daphne Gayton said the new service was a good idea. "It gets a bit ridiculous when you pay $200 odd for one flight to Auckland," Gayton said. "I think a bit of competition doesn't hurt anyone." 

Palmerston North

It will be happy landings all round with the announcement of another new airline flying out of Palmerston North airport. Jetstar announced its four new regional destinations this morning at Wellington Airport, with Palmerston North on the list. The arrival of the budget airline gives more options to people in Manawatu, Whanganui and other nearby regions with people from the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa expected to use the service. Business and community leaders unanimously welcomed the announcement. Palmerston North mayor Grant Smith said the additional flights were welcome for the city and for the broader region. "It's only good news," he said. "The region will get lower fares and it will also help people who otherwise couldn't travel. There is choice there for them," he said. Smith announced Jetstar's decision at the council meeting on Monday morning and councillors clapped and cheered.  He expected the move to give tourism in the region a boost and help retailers and agribusiness as well. "It will bring more travellers to the region," he said. "Attractions like the gorge and the Tui brewery will become more accessible." Palmerston North airport chief executive David Lanham said the news was very exciting. "I'm absolutely stoked. It's going to be a real game-changer. There is only an upside," he said. Lanham said he expected increased options for people to travel in and out of the region would substantially lift passenger numbers. "There will be more people through the airport and we are well placed to deal with that," he said. He said existing infrastructure was good and would be enhanced by upgrading the car park and expanding the arrivals area. "We want to make it easier for people to arrive and leave," he said. "We are ready to roll," he said. Lanham said the longstanding relationship with Air New Zealand was unaffected. "Air New Zealand has a massive role to play in this region. They are always going to be here," he said. Destination Manawatu chief executive Lance Bickford said it was good news. "It reinforces the city as a hub of importance for the lower North Island," he said. "It's good news for conventions and events. "The region will be well served by having an additional carrier," he said. Bickford said the timing of the first flights worked well with major Summer events like the Superstock Teams Champs in February and the Central Districts Field Days in March. He said the region would be working towards increasing passenger numbers. "Our aim is to work with all three parties. "It's up to us to work with the airlines to make sure they stay here," he said.


  1. Behind all the claims about lower fares, what Jetstar is really doing is connecting four substantial markets to its main trunk flights, and to it's and Qantas's overseas flights. For example the Nelson/Wellington timetable from February is useless for business in Wellington or Nelson, but aligned well for the Trans Tasman and main trunk flights. This will leave space for Originair (which is timetabled for Nelson people with business in Wellington); while anyone who flies Soundsair is unlikely to be looking further than Wellington anyway.
    The really interesting thing is surely who the losers are. The big loser is Wellington. Having already lost "main carrier" flights to Westport, Whanganui, and Taupo, it will now see its potential Trans Tasman flyers from New Plymouth, Palamerston North and Napier sucked north to the Auckland hub. With this very plain focus by Jetstar on Auckland, Wellington's much vaunted hopes of more international services must be even less likely to happen.
    The exception will be the possible Nelson to Wellington flow. Its interesting to see that Qantas is trialing a return to the Wellington/Brisbane route after abandoning it to Virgin Australia (codeshared with Air NZ).
    Whanganui has a challenge too. A fifty minute drive will bring its passengers to Palmerston North (which you have to do now to get to any part of the South Island).. Its local paper is strongly talking up the direct Q300 Dash service to Auckland but price will be everything!
    Air 2 There seems to be down to flights from Nelson and Blenheim to Paraparaumu. For the price sensitive, Nelson/Wellington and a train ride may appeal next year?

    1. I'm not sure Wellington is the loser here, travelers from NPL, PMR and NPE have long been sucked through AKL by Air NZ. Maybe they will pick off some of the market from PMR that currently drives to Wellington to fly Trans Tasman, not sure? But to be sure, AKL is the winner. Loser title goes to CHC?

  2. Whanganui has connections to all South Island cities via its AKL sector.

    With the up gauge to Q300s from the 1900D on the GIS - WLG, PMR - WLG, and TIU - WLG and the up gauge to ATRS on the TRG-WLG sector, there will be more seats heading into and out of Wellington.

    On days where loadings are a little low, Air New Zealand routes more of its Australia bound pax on its GIS-WLG flights rather then through Auckland. I believe the same will apply to PMR when the Q300s completely take over in August next year. They will route more pax through WLG when travelling Trans Tasman.

    Wellington has Air New Zealand and the Link airlines, plus Sounds Air, Air Chathams, Qantas, Origin and Jetstar. I don't think Wellington is the loser here, I would agree that perhaps Christchurch is

    1. You're totally right.
      Although I don't believe CHC is in any way a loser over the next 12 months.
      Air New Zealand is leading the charge with growing the market in Canterbury;

      - 15,000 additional seats between Christchurch, Australia and the Pacific Islands
      - 180,000 additional seats between Christchurch & Auckland
      - 20,000 additional seats between Christchurch & Queenstown
      - 24% Capacity increase between Christchurch, Hokitika & Blenheim
      - Christchurch's links to Napier, Invercargill & some New Plymouth will see ATR replace Q300 at peak times.
      - The direct Christchurch - Paraparmumu service continues to limp along offering a great value alternative to flying to Wellington, if Kapiti is your final destination.

  3. Have you looked at Whanganui/Christchurch fares through AKL? On most days in September a return fare is over $800 seat only, on a couple it tops $1000. Drive to PMR and do a shorter faster trip for around a third of that. With the saving you could take a taxi!

    1. Last taxi trip I took from AKL airport into the centre of the city was $110 dollars!

  4. A WAG - CHC return trip can be picked up for $379 in September. You have to prepared to change travel dates to take advantage of cheap fares. Yes a lot of days are as you say, quite pricey. Hokitika is another one, no direct flights to any other location other then Christchurch. A return trip to AKL can still be picked up for $372 under a month out. The WAG - AKL Q300s should so alright, having worked in the industry for many years, I have always though WAG could eventually support the Q300. Yes it may be more expensive to fly out of WAG then say PMR, but you are paying for the convenience, and also by the time you add fuel, parking ect. There won't be much in it.