New Zealand government intervenes to lower Christchurch airfares

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The New Zealand government has intervened to lower Air New Zealand fares to Christchurch after Friday’s terrorist attack.

The move comes after Twitter user Guled Mire posted a screenshot showing return fares for almost $NZ800.

The airline responded on twitter by saying they had put on extra capacity, but had limited availablity resulting in the higher fares.

New Zealand’s Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, responded on twitter that he had spoke to Air New Zealand to make his views clear. Air New Zealand is 52% owned by the New Zealand Government with the Finance Minister being the controlling shareholder of the airline.

Since the intervention Air New Zealand has capped Christchurch fares at $NZ139 with those that had already bought tickets after 3:00pm Friday receiving a partial refund to the level of the reduced fares.

Air New Zealand media statement in full:

Air New Zealand has capped one-way domestic fares for flights directly to and from Christchurch at $139 to assist customers needing to travel there to support those affected by the shooting tragedy.

17 March 2019

The airline has seen a huge increase in demand for travel to and from Christchurch over the past 24 hours and flights have been generally operating at or near capacity.

Compassionate fares
The airline has had compassionate fare assistance in place since Friday which has seen it offer free travel to immediate family of deceased as well as discounted compassionate fares to other affected friends and family with close to 100 bookings made so far, including a number of group bookings. The airline’s contact centre teams has been asking callers since Friday about their reason for travelling to Christchurch to ensure they proactively identify customers travelling to support the families of the victims.

Ticket flexibility
Air New Zealand introduced travel flexibility on Friday allowing any customer booked to travel on services to or from Christchurch over the weekend to automatically have the option to change or rebook any tickets without incurring any change fees or difference in fare. Customers are advised to consult the airline’s Travel Alerts page for more details.

All destination Christchurch domestic bookings made with Air New Zealand after 3.00pm on Friday, March 15, will be refunded back to the level of the reduced fares.

Other support
Beyond the measures Air New Zealand has introduced for customers affected by the shooting tragedy in Christchurch, it has also been working closely with the Prime Minister’s office to support the transport of key people to Christchurch including emergency services personnel.

The airline has transported more than 70 Police officers from around New Zealand to Christchurch and various emergency support personnel, including eight specialist doctors from Auckland, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington and Tauranga.

The airline has also been working with the wider Muslim community to facilitate travel to Christchurch to assist with arrangements.