18 Jun 2020

Air NZ to boost capacity for school holidays

4:33 pm on 18 June 2020

Air New Zealand is boosting capacity across the country for the July school holidays, but it's unclear if that will mean more affordable fares at peak travel times.

Air New Zealand planes parked up at Auckland Airport during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Air New Zealand planes parked up at Auckland Airport during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Supplied / Air New Zealand

The routes to benefit include Auckland to Christchurch, Wellington, Dunedin and Queenstown as well as Wellington to Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown, with either additional flights or bigger aircraft.

This means close to 10,000 additional seats across 12 return services between Auckland and Christchurch from 1 to 19 July.

Air New Zealand networks general manager Scott Carr said resort town Queenstown would receive a boost with a larger plane used between 29 June and 26 July.

"When it comes to our Auckland-Queenstown route, we'll be offering even more capacity over the school holidays than we did during the same time last year," he said.

"This is great news for tourism and those wanting to hit the slopes."

Southland-Clutha National MP Hamish Walker said close to 80,000 seats would be operating in and out of the resort town over the school holidays.

"This is fantastic news, not just for Queenstown but the whole region. A lot of tourists who visit Queenstown obviously don't stay just in Queenstown, they visit the whole district. This is just what the doctor ordered," Walker said.

"To hear there's more demand in terms of passenger numbers this July school holidays than last, is absolutely the best news I've heard all month."

But there has been concerns about what this would mean for pricing.

The best price on offer for a one way, seat-only ticket from Auckland to Queenstown on the first Saturday of the holidays is $409 as of Thursday afternoon.

Prices then look to remain in the $300s until lowering to $179 on Saturday, 11 July, staying in the $200s until the following Saturday.

More than 15,000 passengers had booked a seat for under $100 each way for the holidays, and prices were higher now because fewer were available, Walker said said.

Air New Zealand is working to add more flights to regional airports for the school holidays.

"We'll also be adding a number of extra services on our regional routes in the week leading up to the school holidays including to and from Blenheim, Dunedin, Gisborne, Hamilton, Invercargill, Kerikeri, Napier, New Plymouth, Nelson, Palmerston North, Rotorua and Tauranga," Scott Carr said.

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