From October 19, the airline introduced Smart Saver fares as its new lead-in fare product, which will also be available on regional flights, in some cases cutting fares by 28 per cent. The fares are non-refundable, attract a NZ$50 (A$40.45) change fee for any changes (plus any fare difference) and will not earn any Airports dollars, although they will attract Airpoints status credits. They also include a 25kg checked baggage allowance, although child fares will no longer be offered.
The airline has also introduced the business focused Flexi Plus fare, which allows for passengers to change their flights for free to any available seat, is fully refundable and attracts Airpoints dollars and status credits. Child fares are also offered at a 25 per cent discount to adult fares.
Air NZ CEO Rob Fyfe predicts that one airline would be forced to withdraw from the now crowded New Zealand domestic market. “This is not a market that can sustain indefinitely three competitors and when you look at the performance since the arrival of Jetstar, the performance of the airlines is very different,” he told The Australian newspaper.
“Two’s company, three’s a crowd, certainly one of the competitors is finding it very challenging in the market at the moment when you look at their load factors,” he said.