Flights to and from New Zealand’s regional centres have long operated under a monopoly, with flag carrier Air New Zealand the only airline offering destinations such as Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Nelson and Invercargill. This has meant high fares for anyone wishing to travel to these cities, some of which are important tourism destinations giving access to the best of the country’s scenery and natural attractions. However, cheaper flights are now on the horizon for New Zealand.
Jetstar, a low-cost carrier owned by Qantas, has this week announced intentions to offer more options on New Zealand’s domestic routes from December. The airline has plans to fly to at least four regional centres, on top of its current regular services between Auckland
, Christchurch, Wellington
. They have not yet confirmed which cities will be part of the new operations, but the seven mentioned above are in the running.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key voiced his support for the announcement in a press release from the Beehive
: “Today’s commitment is more good news for New Zealand and for the regions. This will create jobs, mean cheaper fares and more choice for New Zealanders and our international visitors, and will provide a welcome boost to regional economies.”
Cheaper domestic flights expected
For both visitors and residents travelling domestically, Jetstar’s announcement is likely to mean cheaper flights. The main domestic flights saw a 40% drop in price when the budget airline first entered the market, and it is likely that breaking Air New Zealand’s stranglehold on the smaller cities will have the same effect - great news for anyone who wants to see New Zealand in depth!
The current state of affairs in New Zealand’s domestic travel means that flights to Melbourne
are often far cheaper than those to Invercargill or Nelson, so a new player in the game is fantastic news for anyone who flies within the borders.
Oh, the places you’ll go!
The opportunities opened up by cheaper domestic flights will be fantastic for the discerning tourist in New Zealand. Instead of flying in to Christchurch and making the drive to where the most beautiful landscapes are, travellers could book a discount flight to Nelson, pick up a Nelson Airport car rental
and get amongst the beautiful beaches of Abel Tasman National Park with no time lost. Inexpensive flights could also open up the most southerly parts of the country - a road trip to Queenstown is much shorter from Invercargill
than from Christchurch
In the North Island, the multiple attractions of Rotorua are accessible easily from the city’s regional airport, and a car rental from New Plymouth
could see a hiker in Mt Egmont National Park without a long drive from Auckland or Wellington.
Less time spent on the road means more time spent exploring! Jetstar’s new regional flights and their effect on the market will be awaited with anticipation in New Zealand.