Jetstar and Air New Zealand have engaged in a very intense and exciting price war, with both competing to hold the title of New Zealand’s cheapest regional airline.
Air New Zealand drew first blood when they sliced the prices of domestic flights to Wellington, New Plymouth, and others by up to 50%. This came after the company revealed plans to downgrade their annual profit margins. The airline justified this as partly to ensure regional routes were accessible to kiwis, and also to help bolster the domestic market. As a result, you can now nab a seat to the capital for (what Air New Zealand claims to be) the low price of $49 each way, on selected flights leaving at non-peak hours (around midday).
Another of New Zealand’s largest regional carriers Jetstar reacted to the price drop by announcing plans to lower their rates too. Jetstar flies regularly to locations such as Christchurch, Dunedin, Napier, New Plymouth, Nelson, Palmerston North, Wellington and Queenstown. This follows the company’s ‘Price Beat Guarantee’ – one which dares consumers to “find a lower comparable fare online” that the company can’t beat by at least 10%. The company released thousands of tickets for prices as low as a mere $29.
Since then, both airlines have plateaued with their discounts. The low fares look like they have landed for good though, which will serve as a relief to regional airline fliers, and anyone who loves a cheap air fare. This writer hopes the price reduction won’t compromise the production value of Air NZ’s safety videos, or worsen the already “not great™” reliability of Jetstar’s customer service. If you get a high from the excitement of not knowing if your flight will actually lift off until the last minute, Jetstar has it all.
Slowly, with the help of the petrol tax, it is becoming cheaper to fly around the country rather than drive.