Jetstar has signalled that it intends to end its regional turboprop services in New Zealand from the end of November, citing continued losses on the routes.

The carrier’s chief executive Gareth Evans says that the services, which started in December 2015, have suffered from high costs and a softening of demand in the regional travel market that looks unlikely to change.

“We have given it a real go. However, despite four years of hard work, including becoming the most on-time of the two major regional airlines and having high customer satisfaction, our regional network continues to be loss-making,” he says.

Although they operated in Jetstar livery and flight codes, the five De Havilland Canada Dash 8-300s used on the regional routes are operated by Qantas regional carrier Eastern Australia Airlines.

Cirium schedules data shows that the turboprops primarily operate from Auckland, connecting it to Nelson, Palmerston North, Napier and New Plymouth. They also ply the Wellington-Nelson route.

Jetstar stresses that the withdrawal of the turboprop services will not impact its domestic jet operations in New Zealand.

In response to the announcement, Air New Zealand is providing support to Jetstar passengers on the affected routes by offering discounted fares and has committed to not increasing its lead-in fares on those routes until at least the end of 2020.

“Air New Zealand currently has 51 aircraft operating 320 flights per day to regional centres. We will evaluate the demand outlook on the affected Jetstar routes and determine whether we have the flexibility within our current fleet to add more capacity,” adds chief revenue officer Cam Wallace.

Source: Cirium Dashboard