OPINION: Jetstar should be proud of their firework like start to their regional services. Flights to Napier and Nelson have been conducted for over six months, and Jetstar flights to New Plymouth and Palmerston North are just two months away from hitting the six month bench mark.
Passenger loads on the 50 seater flights to Napier, Nelson and New Plymouth have been more than satisfactory with higher than 80% passenger loads on average. Analysts believe Palmerston North Jetstar flights are only just making the cut however.
On time performance did take a bash when the regional services begun in December 2015 mainly due to Palmerston North flight cancelations, falling from nearly 90% to 64% however, the performance is on the way up, with Jetstar flights on time 75% of the time for the month of February.
New Plymouth Airport is the ninth-busiest airport in New Zealand. Its already rising passenger numbers have increased sharply since Jetstar began regular flights to Auckland at the start of February, with February 2016 passenger numbers up 13 per cent on the same month last year and March recording a 19.5 per cent increase.
Since Jetstar started flying from New Plymouth to Auckland, on February 1, the airport's carpark has been overflowing, manager Kevin Hill said.
"We've had cars parking on yellow lines and grass verges, since Jetstar arrived here there's definitely more and more people coming and going," he said.
"We've had to push forward our plans to build an extra 100 car parks adjacent to the existing ones."
Hill said the Jetstar's service had been running smoothly and he was unaware of any cancelations or major delays.
Jetstar have confirmed to Flight Reviews NZ that a fourth flight to Auckland from New Plymouth will begin in late October to 'keep up with high demand'.
Jetstar Taranaki advocate Michael Riley said a large number of the Jetstar flights to and from New Plymouth have already been sold out.
"Absolutely, and you'll find that if you're wanting to take a Jetstar flight to Auckland today, your chances will be low, as the flights are mostly sold out," Riley said.
"Jetstar has become a very popular airline in Taranaki for short notice flights, as their prices have remained low. You can pick up the odd $29 flight to Auckland within 24 hours of the flight taking place on some occasions."
Looking at the three Jetstar flights for tomorrow out of New Plymouth flight prices range $35 - $79, while on the Air New Zealand website, one of their seven flights to Auckland from New Plymouth cost between $129 - $279.
Jetstar flights to Auckland from New Plymouth Airport today were all sold out, apart from one seat left that was selling for $119, while none of Air New Zealand's flights were sold out, and seats were selling for more than $259 each.