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Origin Pacific – now watch regional airfares soar

Media statement
For immediate release
Friday, 11 August 2006

Origin Pacific saga – now watch regional airfares soar

United Future leader Peter Dunne is lamenting the suspension of passenger services by regional passenger airline Origin Pacific.

"Origin was a breath of fresh air in the domestic aviation market and deserved to succeed. This is a bleak day for regional New Zealand.

"Aggressive price competition from Air New Zealand is a major reason for Origin's shrinking, alongside Origin's accumulated debts arising from the cancellation of its code share arrangement with Qantas after the collapse of Qantas New Zealand.

"Now that Origin passenger services are gone, there is no incentive for Air New Zealand to maintain low prices on the routes it shared with Origin, and it is a pretty safe bet that fares on Air New Zealand's regional services will now soar because of the removal of competition."

Mr Dunne notes that Origin currently has a case before the Commerce Commission regarding Air New Zealand's pricing practices, and he hopes the Commission takes today's developments into account in considering the case.

"My sympathy goes out to Origin Pacific's founder Robert Inglis, his Board and staff, and the many loyal Origin passengers who suffer as a result of this decision.

"The least Air New Zealand can now do is step in to pick up Origin's outstanding bookings on the routes they have in common, as practical support of their continued bleat that they are a genuine New Zealand airline, even though its major focus these days seems to be on to a joint future with Qantas, regardless of what Kiwis think," he says.

ENDS

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