24 Feb 2020

Cheaper Air New Zealand flights expected in wake of Covid-19 outbreak

6:31 pm on 24 February 2020

Cheaper Air New Zealand fares may be coming, as the airline hints at "increased marketing" for some domestic and Trans-Tasman routes in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 17: Air New Zealand Airbus A320 landing at Auckland International Airport on December 17, 2017 in Auckland

Photo: 123RF

It comes as the national carrier expects to make up to $75 million less as a direct result of the travel restrictions imposed by the novel coronavirus.

Restrictions and reduced capacity flights are in place for a number of routes but, to make up for it, other destinations might soon become a lot more accessible.

Independent aviation commentator Irene King said this meant it was probably a good time to take a holiday.

"New Zealand consumers are going to see some great prices through to the UK and Europe over Dubai and Europe, great prices into Australia and the Islands ... destinations that are really safe to travel to."

King said Air New Zealand would look to stimulate the market the best it could.

"Any bum on a seat is better than no bum at all and even if it's only paid $19 to go somewhere, at least you're getting cash in."

A number of domestic $19 deals went up last week, selling out in record time.

And it was not just flights that consumers could soon cash in on.

Flight Centre New Zealand Product general manager Victoria Courtney said other operators catering to tourists would also be trying to get more business.

"That's probably something that we'll start to see over the next month or so as hotels and tour operators on the ground grapple with their cancellation... Watch this space, I think there could be some really good domestic deals coming out."

House of Travel commercial director Brent Thomas said some travellers were holding off booking a getaway, and were waiting to see where might be the best place to go.

"We still expect New Zealanders to travel in record numbers this year, it's just a question of where they're going to be going."

However, commentator Irene King said it could take some time before things were "business as usual".

"What we do know from the modelling associated with SARS is that the market does bounce back... the question is how long.

"I think we could be looking at a 12-month impact."

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