30 Mar 2011

Jetstar drops some Christchurch flights

9:01 pm on 30 March 2011

Qantas-owned budget airline Jetstar is cutting some of its Christchurch services, blaming high fuel prices and the effects of a the February earthquake.

As part of cost-cutting measures across the entire Qantas group, Jetstar will cancel three daily domestic flights - two between Auckland and Christchurch and one between Wellington and Christchurch - and one of its weekly flights to Melbourne.

That leaves eight Jetstar domestic flights in and out of the city each day.

Airline spokesperson Simon Westaway says the cuts are only short-term and Jetstar remains committed to Christchurch.

Air New Zealand says it has no plans to cut Christchurch services and Air Asia says it's going ahead with its four flights a week to Malaysia, starting on Friday.

Air Asia spokesperson Phil Boeyen says the company is confident the service will be viable regardless of perceptions there might be in Asia towards New Zealand following the Christchurch quake.

Qantas expecting $140m profit dent

Qantas says its financial result for the second half of the year is expected to be impacted by about $140 million because of the Queensland floods, two cyclones, Japan's earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the Christchurch quake.

It says a loss of $15 million is likely from the latter.

The airline says it will reduce international and domestic capacity, retire aircraft, cut management positions and maintain fuel surcharges in an effort to offset soaring fuel prices.

Chief executive Alan Joyce says the combination of soaring fuel price and a string of natural disasters is the most serious challenge Qantas has faced since the global financial crisis was at its peak.

Qantas has already raised domestic airfares and international fuel surcharges twice this year, but says that hasn't been enough to recoup rising fuel costs in full.