Jetstar reorganises Queenstown flights
Jetstar has cancelled its daily service between Queenstown and Christchurch from mid-November but has announced new trans-Tasman flights into Queenstown.
The airline announced several changes to its services yesterday, increasing its New Zealand-based fleet from eight aircraft to nine in November, creating 50 new jobs.
Jetstar chief executive David Hall said the decision to cancel the Queenstown-to-Christchurch service was based on changing travel patterns, which had seen customers opting to fly directly into Queenstown rather than via Christchurch.
The airline would instead offer four direct flights from Melbourne and up to three from Sydney to Queenstown to spur on inbound tourism to the region, Mr Hall said.
“These changes affirm our commitment to New Zealand and will contribute significantly to the country's tourism industry, providing economic benefits as well as contributing strong job growth. Today Jetstar holds 20 per cent of the domestic flying market and employs more than 500 Kiwi team members.”
Queenstown Airport chief executive Scott Paterson said although it was disappointing the Queenstown-to-Christchurch service would be canned, it was not unexpected.
"We closely watch airline performance and we have been concerned about the Queenstown-Christchurch service for a while so we're not surprised that Jetstar have decided to focus on other routes," Mr Paterson said.
From November 15, Jetstar will add one direct service between Queenstown and Melbourne and one between Queenstown and Sydney, bringing its total weekly international services into the resort to seven.
"This represents up to an extra 37,000 international seats annually into Queenstown."
Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ann Lockhart welcomed the increase in trans-Tasman flights and said they would benefit tourism and local residents wanting to travel but said it was disappointing to lose the domestic service.
"It's always an advantage to have a choice but obviously the decision has been made on economic grounds," she said.
Tourism industry bosses also welcomed the lift in flights between New Zealand and Australia.
Tourism Industry Association New Zealand chief executive Martin Snedden said the flights would also help grow New Zealand's largest source of international visitors.
“The flow-on effects of the increased Jetstar services will benefit TIA members around the country, including attractions, activities, accommodation and transport providers,” Mr Snedden said.
Almost 1.2 million Australians visit New Zealand a year, spending almost $4.5 million a day.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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