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The addition of Jetstar flights to the Taranaki region have smashed passenger records at New Plymouth Airport.
It’s been confirmed almost 70,000 more people flew to the region in 2016, compared to 2015 when Air New Zealand passenger numbers to the province were falling.
The airport welcomed in 411,661 passengers in 2016 – up from the 340,000 passengers in 2015. The numbers had jumped by over 20% as a direct result of Jetstar’s three daily flights to Auckland.
Jetstar CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the airlines fare pricing can be thanked for the jump in numbers at New Plymouth Airport.
“When airfares are lower it stimulates passenger growth because more people can fly more often, whether its for leisure or business.”
“In most recent months, we’ve seen an increase in people having confidence in us and using the Jetstar flights in and out of New Plymouth.”
Jetstar regional advocate Michael Riley said when the companies’ regional expansion began the airline added more than 600,000 seats to the domestic market.
“The lower priced airfares, and more capacity mixed with a fabulous boost in tourism in Taranaki has seen many of the Jetstar flights completely sold out,” Riley said.
“Jetstar operates up to 244 flights a week on its regional network, a capacity of more than 12,000 seats a week which the airline is filling well.”
“During sale travel periods flights can reach capacity with passenger numbers. It’s great to see so many people both locals and tourists using the services Jetstar are providing.”
Before Jetstar commenced services to New Plymouth average flight prices to Auckland with Air New Zealand were over $119 one way. Jetstar introduction prices were as low as $9, and one year on have begun to settle at as low as $29.
Riley said Jetstar’s Return for Free Sale, and $19 Boxing Day Sale had been well received as well as the Friday Fare Frenzy.
“Every Friday between 4pm and 8pm is the best time to be purchasing Jetstar flights as the sale generally includes regional New Zealand and you can pick up super low fares to the regions and Auckland.”
When questioned whether Jetstar would expand its current three flights a day schedule, Riley said it was hard to say.
“It all depends on the demand, and of course if aircraft is available to service extra flights. It would be great to see a fourth service start up in the future as originally planned,” he said.