Jetstar expansion in other regions not ruled out

Jetstar hasn't ruled out flight paths to other parts of New Zealand.

The budget airline announced new routes to Napier, Nelson, Palmerston North and New Plymouth yesterday.

It also considered Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and Invercargill for the hotly contested routes, and Jetstar chief executive David Hall says valuable relationships forged will continue.

"Don't be despondent, we're going to keep the dialogue open because we're looking for opportunities to further grow in more destinations than we've announced," he told reporters.

Jetstar's commitment to bringing low fares and increased competition to communities around the country was for the long-term, Mr Hall said.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says he's pleased Mr Hall said the four destinations were the "initial" additions.

A sustainable flight network encourages visitors to get off the beaten track, Tourism Industry Association chief executive Chris Roberts says.

"Other regions ... should keep building their cases for Jetstar to service them in future."

Waikato put its case strongly and is disappointed by the decision, Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker says.

"We will keep working with Jetstar to get them here."

Rotorua Airport chief executive Nicole Brewer wants to continue discussions with Jetstar and Air New Zealand.

"We are continuing to focus on areas of long-term growth.

"For Rotorua, this means increased capacity, as well as encouraging more travellers to connect via air rather than road to and from Auckland, and a direct link to Queenstown."

If regions really want a strong chance of attracting a Jetstar route - perhaps they need to entice a Jetstar official to live there.

Jetstar NZ head Grant Kerr lives in Nelson, the only one of the new destinations to have routes to Auckland and Wellington.

"I know I've got a big smile on my face about today because I also live in Nelson, so commuting for me is fantastic," he told reporters yesterday.


TV3 Tuesday 1 Sep 2015 5:28 a.m.

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