25 September, 2019

More airline consolidation as Jetstar announces a withdrawal from regional flying in New Zealand from the end of November

More airline consolidation was on the cards today as Jetstar announced it was to end its regional Q300 turboprop services in New Zealand at the end of November 2019.

After less than five years, the airline is proposing to call a halt to the up to 130 return services a week it flies during peak season across five routes – Auckland and Nelson, Napier, New Plymouth and Palmerston North and flights between Nelson and Wellington.

 The airline cites a reduction in regional traffic and increased costs as the main reason for the withdraw.  Gareth Evans, Jetstar’s Chief Executive Officer said “The New Zealand regional market is facing some headwinds, with softer demand and higher fuel costs and we don’t see the outlook changing any time soon. As a result, we’re announcing a proposal today to end our regional services, with the final flights on 30 November this year,” 

“We have given it a real go. However, despite four years of hard work, including becoming the most on-time of the two major regional airlines and having high customer satisfaction, our regional network continues to be loss-making. We understand there will be disappointment in regional centres at today’s announcement." Said Evans. 

Continuing, “Our regional customers have been very loyal and we’d like to thank them, and all our regional stakeholders including airports, local councils, businesses and tourism organisations, for their support.” 

Jetstar says that pulling out of the regional market will not have an impact on its other New Zealand domestic and international jet services, at least not yet.   For the time being, it will continue to fly around 270 domestic jet services each week and up to 100 international flights a week on the Tasman and to Rarotonga.  “We are fully committed to our domestic jet services. It’s business as usual for the rest of our New Zealand operation." Evans promised, which some in the New Zealand aviation industry have said was a warning of more consolidation to come. 

Some 70 Jetstar staff that will lose their jobs, however, the airline says that it will offer alternative employment options to those staff members elsewhere in the Jetstar and Qantas Group businesses. 

Passengers booked on the turboprop services beyond 30 November 2019 will be offered a full refund.  

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