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Air New Zealand Takes Express Spirit Trans-Tasman


Air New Zealand Takes Express Spirit Trans-Tasman

Air New Zealand today becomes the first airline to introduce everyday, low-cost travel across the Tasman - cutting its lead-in Auckland-Sydney fare by 45% with an average reduction of 20% across the full range of lead-in fares including Business class.

Tasman Express is the latest move in the airline's development focused on delivering simple, low price fares to encourage more people to travel more often.

Unveiling the details of Tasman Express fares which go on sale today for travel from October 29th, Air New Zealand's Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Norris said the company was extending the successful Express concept to the Tasman route as promised.

"Domestic Express Class was revolutionary - today's announcement is evolutionary. It's the next step in a fundamental change of direction for Air New Zealand, setting the benchmark in everyday, low-cost travel on the Tasman.

"And to kick off Tasman Express we are offering 1,000 free seats to our customers booking online in the next ten days."

Travellers in both New Zealand and Australia will benefit from new fares to an unrivalled range of direct trans-Tasman destinations including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Perth and Norfolk Island in Australia and Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown in New Zealand.

Key features of Tasman Express include:

* Auckland to Sydney, one-way fare from $189 (excl. applicable taxes and levies) reduced from $344.50 each way - a saving of $155.50

* Lead-in Smart Saver fares an average 24% lower than current special fares on sale

* An average 20% reduction on the full range of lead-in fares, including Business Class, and up to 45% compared to current lowest year round fares

· A customer offering of I,000 free seats to customers who book online in the first eleven days, 12 -22 August 2003, for travel commencing between 29 October and 20 December 2003

* Fares available year-round, not only as ad-hoc, promotional deals

* A quarter of all seats available, on average, in the lowest Tasman Smart Saver fare range. On some flights, up to 40% of seats are expected to be available in this price bracket

* Three simple, economy fare categories - the same as domestic Express Class. Complicated fare rules and conditions scrapped

* Mix and match flexibility - the same as domestic Express Class, using a one-way fare structure

* Booking online through www.airnewzealand.co.nz saves up to $50 in service fees (return travel).

Tasman Express will retain a two-class structure, Business and Economy Class, and free onboard food and in-flight entertainment will continue. The food and beverage service will move to a simpler, more contemporary style.

While newspapers and magazines will no longer be provided, except in Business Class, Air New Zealand's popular in-flight magazine will remain in both classes.

Mr Norris said the new low fares are possible because of some fundamental changes the airline has made to its trans-Tasman model.

"We're working harder and smarter to deliver fares which will stimulate the market, both in terms of higher passenger numbers, and also in directing more bookings to the Air New Zealand website.

"Savings have been made with our new-look food and beverage service and the operational savings from the progressive introduction of our new Airbus A320 aircraft on the Tasman will also provide cost benefits."

Economy Class fares will follow the simplified structure of the domestic Express Class including the removal of complex fare conditions requiring advance purchase or Saturday night stays.

TASMAN EXPRESS - LEAD-IN ONE WAY FARES

One-way Tasman Smart Saver*

Lowest year round fare **

% Saving

Sydney-ex AKL/WLG/CHC

>From $189

$345

45%

Melbourne-ex AKL/WLG/CHC

>From $199

$355

44%

Brisbane-ex AKL/WLG/CHC

>From $199

$355

44%

*Does not include taxes, levies and airport charges.

** Current fares are return only - comparison made with halved lowest year round (return) fares not special seasonal fares. Does not include taxes, levies and airport charges.

Business Class remains a key part of the Tasman offering, reflecting the importance of the trans-Tasman corporate market. While maintaining high standards of seat comfort and in-flight entertainment, Business Class fares will reduce on average by 20%, backed by the most convenient frequency on the Tasman with 114 flights per week.

"Our business travellers value efficiency and comfort alongside price on their list of priorities," said Mr Norris.

"By retaining Business Class, lounges and valet parking coupled with lower Business Class fares and the newest aircraft on the Tasman with the arrival of our new Airbus A320 planes, we are confident our Tasman service remains the best corporate offer on the market.

"A year ago we unveiled the ground-breaking Express Class domestic concept and gave New Zealand travellers an undertaking to roll out lower fares on the Tasman as soon as possible.

"Today we are delivering on that pledge with the launch of Tasman Express, the next phase of our strategic repositioning of Air New Zealand.

"New Zealanders have readily embraced Express Class and welcomed its spirit of enabling more people to travel more often. We've clearly delivered exactly what the travelling public want and we confidently expect Kiwis and Australians to embrace Tasman Express with equal enthusiasm," said Mr Norris.

Drawing on the outstanding success of Express Class which is on track to carry more than a million additional passengers in its first year, Tasman Express is expected to grow traffic between New Zealand and Australia by 10%.

Air New Zealand carries significant numbers of New Zealanders and Australians across the Tasman every year - some 32% of total visitors the airline brings to New Zealand are Australians and 44% of outbound kiwis fly to Australia annually with Air New Zealand.

The arrival of the first of Air New Zealand's 15 new Airbus A320 aircraft in September will add a new customer dimension to trans-Tasman travel.

In its biggest single investment in future growth, Air New Zealand has earmarked the A320 to replace Boeing 737's and 767's on Tasman routes over the following year.

The highly efficient 146-seat Airbus aircraft is perfect for the high frequency Tasman market.

In addition to the extra capacity of the new Airbus planes, Air New Zealand will also use larger aircraft on key Tasman routes, adding an additional 10 per cent capacity at peak times to satisfy this demand.

HOW TO BOOK

Online booking (www.airnewzealand.co.nz) has been crucial to the success of Express Class in the New Zealand market and will be equally important on the Tasman.

This strategy puts the customer in control and gives them the choice of how they transact their travel arrangements. Booking online means avoiding payment of up to $50 in service fees. Customers can book at any time, day or night, and save money.

For those who prefer personal service, they can call the Air New Zealand reservations call centre on 0800 737 000, 24 hours a day, seven days a week or visit an Air New Zealand Travelcentre. This personal level of service will attract a fee of $25 per person, per one-way booking. Customers are also able to book through a travel agent but this may also incur a service fee.

Tickets are on sale today for travel commencing October 29th.

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