Flight costs under fire

Questions raised after being stung $966 for Auckland-Gisborne return fare.

Questions raised after being stung $966 for Auckland-Gisborne return fare.

Gisborne Airport. File picture by Strike Photography

A former politician wants to see more competition between airlines after finding out it is cheaper to fly to Bali and back than it is to fly between Gisborne and Auckland.

Former National MP Ross Meurant said he was left with questions after buying a midweek return fare from Auckland to Gisborne for $966.

“I make this trip about once a month in my capacity as trustee and managing director of absentee-owned Russian forestry and commercial property assets.

“In fact, at present, one can get a return trip to Bali (Indonesia) for less than it cost me to fly to Gisborne.”

Mr Meurant said inquiries through his political connections informed him that politicians on both sides of the House, “in majority”, were not in favour of opening Gisborne Airport to Qantas/Jetstar.

“As a period of economic doom and gloom descends on Gisborne as a result of the China log export trade collapsing, bringing with it loss of jobs from logging gangs to truck drivers; from the mechanics who service these demons of the highways to retail outlets where unemployed workers will soon have reduced incomes spend, I say it is time to let true travel competition play its role in helping Gisborne survive the next 12 months.”

Earlier this year, Air New Zealand introduced cheaper flights on some of its Gisborne routes. That included reducing some one-way flights between Gisborne and Auckland to $39 on selected days.

However, Gisborne Chamber of Commerce chief executive Terry Sheldrake said there were still issues if travellers needed to fly at short notice.

“It is only a few months back that Air NZ did quite significantly lower flights between Auckland and Gisborne, however, as we all know when one is not in a position to pre-plan flights it can be expensive,” said Mr Sheldrake.

This is just another challenge when living regionally, compared to living and working in a metropolitan area.

“On the flipside, other expenses like purchasing a home in a city like Gisborne is far cheaper.”

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones previously also criticised Air New Zealand’s regional pricing, which he said was still “horrendously large” for the majority of travellers.

A Jetstar spokesman confirmed the airline had “no plans” to expand its regional network.

A former politician wants to see more competition between airlines after finding out it is cheaper to fly to Bali and back than it is to fly between Gisborne and Auckland.

Former National MP Ross Meurant said he was left with questions after buying a midweek return fare from Auckland to Gisborne for $966.

“I make this trip about once a month in my capacity as trustee and managing director of absentee-owned Russian forestry and commercial property assets.

“In fact, at present, one can get a return trip to Bali (Indonesia) for less than it cost me to fly to Gisborne.”

Mr Meurant said inquiries through his political connections informed him that politicians on both sides of the House, “in majority”, were not in favour of opening Gisborne Airport to Qantas/Jetstar.

“As a period of economic doom and gloom descends on Gisborne as a result of the China log export trade collapsing, bringing with it loss of jobs from logging gangs to truck drivers; from the mechanics who service these demons of the highways to retail outlets where unemployed workers will soon have reduced incomes spend, I say it is time to let true travel competition play its role in helping Gisborne survive the next 12 months.”

Earlier this year, Air New Zealand introduced cheaper flights on some of its Gisborne routes. That included reducing some one-way flights between Gisborne and Auckland to $39 on selected days.

However, Gisborne Chamber of Commerce chief executive Terry Sheldrake said there were still issues if travellers needed to fly at short notice.

“It is only a few months back that Air NZ did quite significantly lower flights between Auckland and Gisborne, however, as we all know when one is not in a position to pre-plan flights it can be expensive,” said Mr Sheldrake.

This is just another challenge when living regionally, compared to living and working in a metropolitan area.

“On the flipside, other expenses like purchasing a home in a city like Gisborne is far cheaper.”

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones previously also criticised Air New Zealand’s regional pricing, which he said was still “horrendously large” for the majority of travellers.

A Jetstar spokesman confirmed the airline had “no plans” to expand its regional network.

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Kim - 1 month ago
Try to get a cheap deal for a weekend away . . . it just doesn't happen. Air NZ has a monopoly and it shows. We looked at fares to Auckland for our grandson's third birthday and ended up driving. Grabaseat to or from Gisborne is a joke!

Kim - 1 month ago
My flights to Auckland to get the connecting flight to Melbourne were more expensive than the Auckland - Melbourne return! $480 v $460 to Melbourne. It's unbelievable they are charging such exorbitant prices - needs to be addressed by Air New Zealand.

winston moreton - 1 month ago
Kim. A huge part of the problem is the regional airline passengers are subsidising Air NZ main trunk flights because there's competition on those routes. An equally substantial problem is Gisborne Airport is controlled by ECT/Eastland Group who collect a departure tax of $13.00 (highest in NZ) and Air NZ simply put that on your ticket. Plus there is that ridiculous parking fee.

Timothy John Rollinson - 1 month ago
Agree with all the comments, we have got bigger aircraft landing now which was going to lower airfares - nope, never happened. Like most here in Gisborne we drive everywhere because we cannot afford to fly. $1080 return Whangarei for my parents' 80th. Missed that. Thanks Air NZ.

Craig Miller - 1 month ago
Exorbitant flight ticket prices and the GDC/ECT see fit to spend millions on a new airport terminal. Unless the cost to either fly to Gisborne or to fly out comes down, Gisborne will have the flashiest terminal building in the country that few people will use.

Craig - 1 month ago
After being stuck in Australia due to flooding and giving Air New Zealand ample notice, I was still stung $500 one way Auk to Gis for a flight I had already paid $150 for. Thanks Air New Zealand.

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