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Jetstar pulling out of regional routes

Jetstar pulling out of Nelson, Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North routes

By Paul McBeth

Sept. 25 (BusinessDesk) - Jetstar plans to stop flying unprofitable regional routes at the end of November, blaming tepid demand and high jet fuel prices which it says look set to stay for some time.

The affected routes are between Auckland and Nelson, Napier, New Plymouth and Palmerston North, and flights between Wellington and Nelson.

The budget arm of Australia's Qantas Airways will make a final decision on whether to end the 130 weekly flights to provincial centres by the end of October, giving it time to consult with 70 staff. It started flying the routes four years ago, and has carried 1.3 million passengers over that time.

"The New Zealand regional market is facing some headwinds, with softer demand and higher fuel costs and we don’t see the outlook changing any time soon," Jetstar chief executive Gareth Evans said in a statement.

He said the airline will continue to offer its weekly 270 flights between Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown, and up to 100 international flights on the Tasman and to Rarotonga.

"We are fully committed to our domestic jet services. It’s business as usual for the rest of our New Zealand operation," Evans said.

And it will double its weekly Queenstown-Wellington service to six.

The airline said customers booked on the regional services after Nov. 30 will be offered options, including a full refund. Affected staff will have alternative employment options available to them across the Jetstar and Qantas group in New Zealand and Australia.



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