Fare increases follow Air NZ apology

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon. Photo: NZ Herald
Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon. Photo: NZ Herald
Air New Zealand is pushing up some prices on a number domestic routes by up to 8 percent and $10 each way across the Tasman, a corporate travel agent says.

These are the latest in a series of price increases this year for the airline, which at the weekend apologised to customers for service lapses on its international network.

From Friday, higher booking classes such as flexi fares or those booked at the last moment will increase by 5 percent on main routes between Auckland and Wellington, Christchurch to Wellington and Christchurch to Dunedin.

Christchurch to Invercargill and Blenheim to Wellington fares are up 4 percent and those between Auckland and Palmerston North increase by 8 percent.

Corporate travel specialists FCM say that all other fare classes and routes remain unchanged.

But all flights to Australia will go up by $10 no matter what the fare class, cabin or sector.

FCM says travellers should ensure they were booking the right type of fare to get the best deal and book early. Although base fares had risen, there were still many cut-rate tactical fares available.

Comment was this morning sought from Air New Zealand.

The airline made its second biggest profit in the year to June of $540m, built largely on record operating revenue of $5.5 billion, up 7.4 percent.

In the last financial year Air New Zealand hiked seat plus bag charges by up to 50 percent on its domestic jet flights, and put up base domestic and international fares by 5 percent. It has blamed higher fuel and operating costs for the increases.

In spite of the increases, chief executive Christopher Luxon said in August there would be more than 2.9 million seats for travel within New Zealand for under $100 next year.

At the weekend Luxon apologised to customers for disruptions and delays during the past year.

''Our ability to deliver this over the past year has been severely impacted and many of our customers have experienced disruptions and delays, rescheduled flights, unexpected replacement aircraft and over-crowded lounges,'' he said.

''I really do apologise and thank you for your patience and support of the airline at this time.''

He said it had been an incredibly challenging year at Air New Zealand dealing with some extraordinary operational challenges that started with the rupture of the fuel pipeline north of Auckland and a series of extreme weather events.

The biggest challenge had been the unscheduled global maintenance issues with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines that power 787 Dreamliners meaning up to five out of 13 of the planes were grounded while engines are serviced in Singapore.

The airline had brought in charter planes — which some customers have complained about — and is cutting back international services to minimise disruption. Flights to Taipei haven't begun yet but they have been cut from a planned five to three times a week.

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