Jetstar head notes support from South

Jetstar says its daily Dunedin to Auckland route carries passenger numbers similar to flying the population of Dunedin there and back each year, as the cut-price airline prepares to celebrate five years of domestic flights in New Zealand.

The airline's New Zealand head, Grant Kerr, said its entry to the market had increased domestic travel figures by 15%, but it had no immediate plans to increase domestic or international flights from Dunedin or Queenstown.

Mr Kerr was in Dunedin yesterday visiting ''stakeholders'', including Mayor Dave Cull, Dunedin International Airport representatives and the Otago Chamber of Commerce.

He said the carrier that had received plenty of criticism for not being always on time had cleaned up its act and was here for the long haul.

The Auckland-based Mr Kerr took on his role - which did not exist before he started nine months ago - after working for Jetstar's opposition, Air New Zealand.

His visit to Dunedin was to ''recognise the support we've got'' in the South, which had helped the company gain a market percentage of a little over 20%.

He said his visit to Mr Cull and others would allow him to find out Dunedin views on Jetstar's value to the regional economy, and the future of tourism growth.

The airline operated a daily service between Dunedin and Auckland, up to 16 flights a week to Auckland from Queenstown, and regular flights from Queenstown to Sydney and Melbourne.

But there were no plans for international flights from Dunedin, despite the company regularly reviewing destinations and always looking for growth.

''At this point, we don't see the numbers to support transtasman flights,'' Mr Kerr said.

The company had put much effort into getting its flights ''consistently on time''.

The company's website noted its performance this year had been close to 90% of flights leaving within 15 minutes of scheduled departure time.

In 2011 and 2012, that performance dipped as low as 62%.

 

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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