Jetstar plans to cut regional NZ routes
Jetstar is planning to pull the pug on five regional New Zealand routes amid demand and fuel price-related turbulence for the budget carrier.
The Qantas-owned airline on Wednesday flagged the withdrawal of its Nelson, Napier, New Plymouth and Palmerston North services from Auckland, as well as its Wellington-Nelson route, from December.
More than 1.3 million passengers have used the regional Q300 turboprop services since starting in December 2015, with 130 return flights currently operating each week during peak season.
But Jetstar chief executive Gareth Evans said the market was "facing some headwinds" in softer demand and higher fuel costs, as the airline opts to pivot rather than push against them.
"We don't see the outlook changing any time soon," Mr Evans said.
"We have given it a real go. However, despite four years of hard work ... our regional network continues to be loss-making."
Jetstar passengers who have booked regional NZ flights beyond November 30 will be offered options, including a full refund.
Rival carrier Air New Zealand has announced it will step up to fill the void, offering discounted fares to those affected and a price freeze on its lowest lead-in fares until at least the end of 2020.
Jetstar insists the move won't impact its other domestic and international flights in New Zealand.
But 70 employees face a more uncertain future, with the airline to begin a consultation process before an expected announcement at the end of October.
"Alternative employment options would be available for all affected Jetstar regional employees - made up chiefly of pilots and cabin crew - across Jetstar and Qantas Group businesses in New Zealand and Australia," a statement read.
Qantas' shares were 0.32 per cent lower at $6.18 by 1230 AEST on Wednesday.
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