Jetstar poised to boost domestic flights

Good news could be coming for travellers to the regions.

See also: PM hails Jetstar's regional expansion

Increased competition on domestic aviation services is likely from an announcement this afternoon by Prime Minister John Key and Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce.

The Qantas-owned Jetstar operation claims it has taken up to 20% of the market on its existing main trunk routes, while the government has expressed the desire to meet public demand for cheaper fares to regional centres where Air New Zealand has a monopoly.

Competition among airlines has heated up worldwide as lower energy prices and more fuel-efficient aircraft have become available.

That competition has so far eluded domestic travellers, unless they are flying on routes to and from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.

In a separate move, Air New Zealand this week announced it was adding premium economy seating to its transtasman, South Pacific and Bali services from October 25.

Until now, the Boeing 777s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners with premium economy seating have been mainly deployed on long-haul routes.

Chief sales and commercial officer Cam Wallace says the mix of aircraft on shorter routes has made it difficult to offer premium economy, which is priced between the cheaper seats and business class.

“With the arrival of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, refurbishment of our Boeing 777-200 fleet and exit of the Boeing 747-400, we now have a consistent Premium Economy offering across our twin-aisle wide-body fleet,” he says.

The premium economy offering on Tasman, Pacific Island and Bali services is similar to the long-haul product and includes a range of benefits, including greater space and premium food as well as additional baggage allowances, premium check-in and priority boarding.

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