27 Sep 2004

Former NZ MP says Pacific Islands should benefit from failure of attempts to link Air NZ and Qantas

7:27 am on 27 September 2004

A Samoan born former New Zealand MP says Pacific Islanders should welcome the collapse of a bid to link Air New Zealand and Qantas.

Anae Arthur Anae says a proposed alliance would have had a monopoly on certain Pacific Island routes, keeping fares high.

Anae, who also owns a travel agency, says competition, including Polynesian Airlines and Air Pacific, has helped to foster new services and bring ticket prices down.

He says the example of the Cook Islands shows that competition fosters new services:

"When Air New Zealand was the only carrier there, they were flying in in the middle of the night when it suited their purposes. Then suddenly Royal Tongan Airlines started up and coming in on a daylight service and a new fare structure, and we saw the whole situation change, and Air New Zealand is now providing a daylight service flight to Rarotonga."

Anae Arthur Anae says for a long time, Pacific Islanders have paid huge airfares, and he says although air travel is more affordable, it is still governed by fare availability and what he calls unacceptable immigration rules.