Air NZ drops discount cards

Aoraki Development Business and Tourism (ADBT) will continue talks with Air New Zealand following the dumping of a discount card programme aimed at regional air travel.

The airline has cut its Starfish scheme where customers were offered 15 per cent discount on regional air fares for a $200 card, and 30 per cent in return for purchasing an $800 card.

This follows talks between the two organisations a couple of weeks ago over the perception of the unreliability of flights in and out of Timaru.

ADBT chief executive Wendy Smith said she was disappointed the discount card programme had been dropped.

"It did provide a useful discount; it is disappointing that it has been cancelled. We have followed up with Air New Zealand about it.

"My understanding is they have been out and about and offered the discount card a number of times but the take-up has been low."

An Air New Zealand spokesperson said the programme had been less effective than expected.

"The viability of the programme relied on the membership base increasing travel frequency but unfortunately this has not occurred in a material way over the time it has run.

"Starfish members nationwide numbered around 3000. However, for commercial reasons, we're not able to provide a regional breakdown of these members."

The Herald asked if any incentives would replace the programme, and if the number of grabaseat offers in and out of Timaru had increased or declined.

"There has been no reduction in the number of grabaseat fares available into and out of Timaru.

"Air New Zealand is committed to ensuring there are more cheap fares than ever for regional travel, offering 28 per cent more seats for under $100 into and out of regional centres over the past five years," the spokesperson said.

The Timaru Herald