Air New Zealand says it will operate extra flights in December 2019 on five regional routes that Jetstar is withdrawing from at the end of November.
The airline said on Thursday it had scheduled an additional 253 flights throughout the month of December on Auckland-Napier, Auckland-Nelson, Auckland-New Plymouth and Auckland-Palmerston North, as well as between Wellington and Nelson.
Air New Zealand chief revenue officer Cam Wallace said the 253 flights represented about 15,000 extra seats on the routes affected by Jetstar’s withdrawal that was first announced in late September.
“Air services are extremely important for regional New Zealand, particularly over the busy holiday period, so we’re pleased to be able to step in and add capacity to the routes impacted,” Wallace said in a statement.
“We are also continuing to look at additional capacity on our regional services post December.”
On September 25, Jetstar said it planned to end its regional flights with Q400 turboprops at the end of November 2019 due to ongoing losses.
The Q300s were operated on behalf of Jetstar by QantasLink’s Eastern Australia Airlines. Starting in 2015, there have been between three and five turboprops flying from Auckland to Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth and Palmerston North, as well as between Nelson and Wellington.
Those aircraft would return to Australia and be redeployed on the QantasLink network.
Following a consultation period with affected employees, Jetstar said on October 16 affected staff had all been offered re-employment options and most had stated a preference to remain with the Qantas group.
“As we explained when we announced our proposal in September, this decision is based on our regional operations continuing to be loss making, combined with higher costs and a softening of the regional travel market,” Jetstar group chief executive Gareth Evans said in a statement.
“I’d like to thank our regional team members and our loyal regional travellers and stakeholders for all their support. We gave this network a real go over the past four years, but the commercial numbers just don’t stack up to keep operating.”
Jetstar’s New Zealand domestic and international flights with Airbus A320 family aircraft was continuing.
The airline has offered alternative re-employment options to all of the affected employees and nearly all have indicated they would like to take up the opportunity to remain with the Qantas Group.
Air New Zealand’s extra regional services
|Route||Seats||Number of extra flights|
|Auckland – Napier||3,120||48|
|Auckland – New Plymouth||2,404||38|
|Auckland – Nelson||3,940||59|
|Auckland – Palmerston North||3,120||48|
|Wellington – Nelson||3,072||60|
Source: Air New Zealand