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Airfare War Migrates to the Tasman

By James Wilkinson

While the Australian airfare war in recent months has focused on the US, the spotlight will shift to the New Zealand next week as Jetstar commences Sydney-Auckland flights and Emirates increases A380 services across the Tasman.

Emirates is ramping up Sydney-Auckland A380 flights

The arrival of Jetstar on the route next Tuesday (Apr 28) has again put pressure on prices, with discounting now rife across the board for the three-hour sector.

Within the last month, Jetstar was offering $99 flights each way including taxes on the new Sydney-Auckland and Gold Coast-Auckland sectors (everyday fares start from $169 each way), while late last week Emirates was offering return flights for $305 including taxes on the A380 superjumbo.

Emirates has been flying the A380 three times per week between Sydney and Auckland, and this increases to daily on May 1. The $305 return airfare was just $88 each way before taxes, which is a tick under Pacific Blue’s latest deal of $94 plus taxes on the route.

Air New Zealand weighed into the battle yesterday (Apr 20), with the launch of a new $2.5 million ‘free domestic flights’ campaign in Australia.

The airline’s ‘big NZ shout’ campaign runs for three weeks until May 10 and is in support of the New Zealand government’s $2.5 million funding boost to lure more Aussies across the Tasman.

Air New Zealand is giving away more than $2 million in free domestic travel, by providing a free one-way NZ domestic flight with every one-way direct trans-Tasman flight booked.

“This campaign offers access to our network of 27 domestic ports,” said Air New Zealand group general manager – short haul airlines, Bruce Parton.

“It means for example, someone could fly from Sydney to Christchurch, take a free flight to Nelson and experience a few days in the region, before flying for free again to Wellington or Auckland for a stop before heading back across the Tasman.”

In support of the campaign, Air New Zealand is offering one-way fares to New Zealand for $209 including taxes, with the real saving coming on the free domestic tickets.