New Zealand's Regional Development Minister criticises Air New Zealand fare increase

16 May, 2018

New Zealand's Regional Development Minister Shane Jones resumed his criticism of Air New Zealand, stating its planned fare increases were a further "affront" to the provinces and the airline needed to "go back to basics" (NZ Herald, 15-May-2018). As previously reported by CAPA, Mr Jones was previously strongly critical of the carrier over its services for regional New Zealand after it suspended service to the Kapiti Coast earlier in 2017. Mr Jones, on the 5% domestic fare increase, further noted: "It's a commercial decision, I accept that. They are facing a bunch of commercial pressures, but Air NZ should have no doubt my voice will not be stifled by these matters. They will justify their price increases but lots of people have already contacted me saying they are disappointed". On the carrier's regional presence, Mr Jones said: "I don't know how they can justify it. It's almost as if they need a permanent bus service now from Whangarei to Auckland or vice versa... They enjoy a virtual monopoly position in New Zealand and the people who feel Air NZ are doing a fantastic job obviously never fly to Whangarei".