Jetstar Considering Invercargill Route

10th Jul 2015

Australian low-cost airline Jetstar Airways said it will have to take a look at some numbers before it can make a decision on whether Invercargill has enough passenger potential to be its new domestic route or not.

The carrier revealed that Invercargill is one of the potential locations, saying the move there will bring "much needed competition", as well as more affordable ticket prices.

Invercargill is one of the seven New Zealand cities that have a chance to be as a new destination for Jetstar in New Zealand. Apart from Invercargill, Rotorua, Napier, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Hamilton and Nelson are also being considered for one of four new destinations.

If it chooses Invercargill, Jetstar will probably fly between this city and Christchurch starting December.

Jetstar New Zealand head Grant Kerr and regional stakeholders had a meeting yesterday in Invercargill. After it Kerr said the region's population was growing and called this an encouraging sign.

Kerr also said he is not worried by the likely reaction from Air New Zealand. According to him, when Jetstar entered NZ and started flying there, ticket prices in the country went down by about 40 per cent.

He also said the meeting gave Jetstar a better insight into this region, but that this was still not enough and the carrier requires a deeper analysis.

Several other things favor Invercargill as the new destination for Jetstar's planes. The airport there has enough space and good facilities for instance. In addition, Queenstown is also close, which may be a factor.

Joe O'Connell, Invercargill Airport chairman explained Jetstar is seeking a long-term and sustainable positioning from which both the airline and the region could benefit.

He said:

"It was very positive and Jetstar are very positive about the region. There was a lot of information from each region to weigh up as well as how each centre fitted into Jetstar's existing route sectors. We don't really have a feeling for what the decision will be and we don't believe they do either."

During a 90-minute meeting, Jetstar representatives spoke with Invercargill City Council, Invercargill Licensing Trust, Gore District Council, Southland Chamber of Commerce and Venture Southland. Southland District Council was also invited to the talks, but they didn't show up.

Once the four destinations are determined, Jetstar will put fares on sale in September and begin flights in December. The airline will use a fleet of five Bombardier Q300s, which have 50 seats each for the destinations.