Air New Zealand has grounded a discount scheme for those
using regional airports.
The airline is no longer offering the Starfish card, which
was launched in July 2010.
That $200 card gave customers an automatic 15% discount on
all regional air fare types, but those who bought an $800
card would qualify for a 30% discount.
The card applied to Air New Zealand regional flights,
originating from or departing to regional airports including
Invercargill, Wanaka, Timaru, Hokitika, Westport and Nelson.
Existing card-holders would continue to enjoy the benefits of
the programme until the expiry of the current membership.
An Air New Zealand spokesman said Starfish was introduced
with the aim of stimulating regional air travel.
''While many of our customers have enjoyed Starfish and its
benefits over the three-and-a-half-year lifetime of the
programme, it has not, in fact, encouraged regional customers
to increase their frequency of travel.''
The airline had worked continuously to improve regional fares
and would continue to do so. The average fares on regional
flights remained lower than five years ago, he said.
''This is despite significant increases in costs, in
particular fuel and landing fees.''
Air New Zealand remained committed to cheap fares for
''We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in bigger
and more efficient aircraft,'' he said.
'' In 2014, we will further strengthen our commitment to
offering more deals every day to our regional destinations,
with a series of planned initiatives.''
Wanaka Chamber of Commerce chairman Alistair King said the
discount scheme was not well promoted and he was not
surprised to hear the airline had cut it.