New boss for budget airline

Last updated 10:24 05/02/2013

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Budget airline Jetstar has appointed aviation executive Grant Kerr to head its New Zealand operations.

The low cost operator owned by Qantas Airways has created a new Auckland-based position to oversee the airline's operations, customer experience and stakeholder relations in New Zealand.

Kerr will lead the carrier's more than 500 New Zealand team members, and report to Jetstar Australia and New Zealand chief executive David Hall.

Hall said the appointment was important for the airline as it focuses on improving its New Zealand services and getting more people to fly more often.

The new head of New Zealand role would focus on improving operational performance and ensuring the airline continued to grow its share of the market.

"With a fleet of nine aircraft operating 400 domestic and 100 international flights each week, Jetstar has reached a scale where we are a viable and cost effective choice for both business and leisure travellers," Hall said.

The airline, which has trans-Tasman and domestic flights in New Zealand, said in September that it would add another 50 jobs to its workforce. These would be skewed towards the North Island but also reflect a strong Christchurch base.

"This new appointment is a further commitment to New Zealanders that Jetstar and our low fares are here for the long-haul," Hall added.

The airline wanted to improve the customer experience, in particular focussing on its on-time performance for flights.

"While we have made some improvements in this area, we know our passengers want the assurance of consistent service as much as they want low fares. This will be a major priority for Grant and the team."

According to the LinkedIn business connection website Kerr has had a role as general manager at Air Nelson. He is expected to start in the new role in the second half of this year.

He will join recent senior appointments to the New Zealand leadership team including manager flight operations Richard Falkner, manager crew base Jo-Ann Day-Townsend and communications manager Phil Boeyen.

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