22 Apr 2024

Air New Zealand announces changes to short-haul flights from June

1:21 pm on 22 April 2024

Air New Zealand is doing away with the option for passengers to buy food on its short-haul flights, instead offering everyone on board a snack or meal.

The airline has announced changes to its short-haul flights from June.

But from Tuesday, the airline will be increasing long-term domestic fares across all routes.

In a statement, Air NZ acting general manager for domestic Jeremy O'Brien said it had faced increasing costs over the past couple of years like many Kiwi businesses.

"As we've previously signalled, our cost base has risen more than 30 percent. To date, we've absorbed as much of this as we can.

"To reflect higher costs of providing air services, we need to continue to review our pricing."

House of Travel chief operating officer Brent Thomas told Midday Report Air NZ had indicated prices were going to change and inflation had been "running hot" over the last few months.

Domestically, there was not a lot of competition so travellers would have to take what was available to them - and Thomas said people would have to wait until Tuesday to see the detail of those increases.

People who were able to book well in advance would still be able to get good fares but those booking last minute - whether for a family emergency or corporate travel "are paying the price".

Thomas said airfares were "significantly cheap" before Covid-19, but costs had gone up.

"I think we all know that when we go fill up our car, the price of petrol's gone up. Facing the same thing - a significant part of running an airline of course is the jet fuel and that has gone up."

Thomas said it was fair that the airline passed that cost on to consumers.

A photo taken on June 27, 2022 shows passengers looking at an Air New Zealand planes as they wait for their flight at Wellington Airport. (Photo by William WEST / AFP)

The national carrier has announced changes to its short-haul flights from June. Photo: AFP

Short-haul changes

As part of changes to simplify the airline's different fares, everyone will have access to Air New Zealand's full entertainment suite, and be served a snack or a meal, as well as tea, coffee, water and juice.

Air New Zealand is also discontinuing its seat+bag fares, though will allow seat-only customers to add a checked bag for a $30 fee.

Seat-only customers travelling to Australia and the Pacific previously received no food with their airfare, and had the option to purchase a range of snacks on board.

That option will be discontinued under the change, but passengers will still be able to buy drinks.

The fare types available from 11 June will be: theworks, worksflexi, premiumeconomy, premiumflexi, businesspremier and businessflexi.

Works customers will still receive the same inclusions of a checked bag, a full meal and drinks, entertainment and free standard seat selection.

The updates were based on customer feedback and changes passengers were looking for, the airline's statement said.

Air New Zealand on Monday downgraded its full-year earnings guidance, as it faces softening domestic demand and a competitive North American travel market.

Pre-tax earnings for the 2024 financial year were forecast to be in the range of $190 million to $230m, lower than previous guidance of $200m-$240m and a significant drop from 2023 pre-tax earnings of $585m.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs