Jetstar today announced a proposal to end its regional Q300 turboprop services in New Zealand at the end of November 2019.
The airline began flying to the regional centres in December 2015 and currently offers up to 130 return services a week during the peak season across five routes – Auckland and Nelson, Napier, New Plymouth and Palmerston North and flights between Nelson and Wellington.
Gareth Evans, Jetstar’s Chief Executive Officer, said the proposal to withdraw the airline’s regional flying was based on the operation continuing to be loss making combined with higher costs and a softening of the regional travel market.
“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,” said Mr Evans.
“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.
Jetstar brought low fares and competition to the regions and this will be a blow to regional communities. It’s good news for rival Air New Zealand, however.
Jetstar will continue to offer up to 270 domestic jet services a week on its jet services between Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown and up to 100 international flights a week on the Tasman and to Rarotonga.
The airline will today begin a consultation process with about 70 affected employees on the proposal and expected to announce a final decision before the end of October.
Given the uncertainty of turboprop services beyond 30 November 2019, Jetstar customers booked on regional services after this date will be offered options including a full refund.
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