New Zealand carriers are adding capacity to their domestic networks in the coming months, even as international operations remain grounded due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.
Moves by Jetstar and Air New Zealand to add back capacity come on the back of strong domestic travel demand.
Low-cost carrier Jetstar says it will resume about 90% of its domestic schedule from August through October.
It will operate more than 100 return flights weekly across six domestic routes, including resuming flights between Wellington and Queenstown.
From Auckland, the carrier will fly to four points — Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington, as well as Queenstown. It will also operate Christchurch-Wellington.
The Qantas low-cost unit says it will “closely monitor” demand to determine capacity from November.
Air New Zealand, meanwhile, will operate 70% of usual, pre-pandemic domestic capacity from August, higher than the 55% it had originally targetted for the month.
To cope with the increased demand, the Star Alliance carrier says it will operate an additional 408 one-way flights from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington to various domestic points, as well as operate larger aircraft on selected routes.
Airport operators in New Zealand have also pointed out the strong travel demand. Auckland Airport, in its June traffic figures, says it saw more than 100 domestic flights operating a day for the month.
While the overall passenger throughput of 231,600 was significantly lower year on year, the airport notes that “the strength of the domestic market meant Auckland Airport was busier than some of the largest airports in Australia and Asia”.
About 89% of all passengers through Auckland in June were domestic passengers, the airport notes.
New Zealand has been one of the success stories in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, staying largely pandemic-free, save for a well-publicised quarantine hiccup in June.