A model Jetstar plane during Jetstar big expansion announcement earlier this year. Photo / Getty Images
Jetstar's new regional services touched down six minutes early, a counter-punch to rival Air New Zealand's advert accusing it of delays.
Jetstar said it was "amazed" at Air New Zealand's tactics, saying it showed just how much "a little competition will do".
The airline's operations centre said its new regional service took off three minutes early.
The 50-seat Bombardier Q300 landed in Auckland to a full water arch welcome from fire trucks on the tarmac after its flight from Napier.
The Napier-Auckland-Nelson service will be followed next February with flights to Palmerston North and New Plymouth as the Australian-owned airline challenges Air New Zealand on regional routes that have been very lucrative, depending on the number of full fare paying passengers aboard.
But it is the advert running in today's Herald that signals just how rough the fight between the two airlines will be.
The advert, a nod to Pinocchio's nose when telling lies, showed a Jetstar jet with an elongated nose accompanied by Jetstar's statement "We're New Zealand's most punctual domestic airline".
The departure data by both airlines is a source of friction between them with disagreement over how they're reported and debate over the validity of comparing the much bigger Air New Zealand with Jetstar.
The Australian airline started flying main trunk jet routes in 2008 and although its entry was marred by poor initial on time performance, it has improved since. It says it has trialled routes and built slack into its regional services to try and avoid teething problems.
Politicians at national and local level have welcomed competition on regional routes which they say will help businesses cut costs and make travel for families easier.
A Jetstar spokesman disagreed with Air New Zealand's take on on time departures.
"Air NZ has finally dropped their fares on regional routes and now they are promoting our regional airline, although they haven't got their facts right. It's amazing what a little competition will do,'' he said.
Jetstar was proud of its focus on punctuality and reported results each month on its website, which Air NZ had stopped doing, the spokesman said.
"We'll respond as we always do - by bringing our low fares to more Kiwis than ever before."