Instead of reporting how cheap prices are some of the media could try asking both Qantas, Air New Zealand and Pacific Blue why prices out of Wellington are significantly higher than out of both Christchurch and Auckland?
Looking at a few random dates it's typically between $120 - $150 more to fly from Wellington to either Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane than what it costs to fly from Auckland or Christchurch. This also doesn't factor in the $25 airport tax at Wellington that must be paid at the airport and is not included in the ticket price unlike Auckland or Christchurch.
We know significant additional competition exists across the Tasman flying in and out of both Auckland and Chrittchurch. Emirates have just launched their new A380's on the Tasman services and Qantas owned Jetstar have also slashed prices to compete. This has meant Air NZ, Qantas and Pacific Blue have have cut many fares significantly to compete. Here in Wellington we're stuck paying significantly more than an Air NZ or Qantas customers out of either Auckland or Christchurch for the same routes.
Is it really fair that we're not seeing prices come down? Are Qantas, Pacific Blue and Air NZ price gouging customers flying out of Wellington? Is Wellington Airport doing enough to encourage competition?
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Comment by stuartm, on 16-Feb-2009 22:23
I could be wrong, but I'm fairly sure that Wellington Airport charges the airlines more than either Auckland or Christchurch. I found out about this when reading an article about Jetstar launching their NZ domestic flights. According to the Stuff article, they "shunned" Wellington due to the airport's high fees. Here's the story: http://www.stuff.co.nz/4726013a34.html
Comment by James Sleeman, on 17-Feb-2009 00:11
Wellington Airport does charge more. Also I wouldn't be surprised if capacity needs to be reduced when operating on the Tasman routes to/from Wellington due to runway length, typical cross wind, and alternate requirements. Naturally though, I expect that lack of competition is a big factor.
Comment by hairy1, on 17-Feb-2009 08:54
Wellington has some performance limitations (something to do with hills!) so the fact is that you can't get a large aircraft out of Wellington. It is a bit like only being able to take a van across the tasman instead of a bus. The price to operate per passenger is higher the smaller the aircraft.