Jetstar will start trans-Tasman winter evening flights in and out of Queenstown from June this year, providing travellers with more flexibility to take a winter break in the resort town.
Subject to regulatory approval, Jetstar will operate a daily winter evening service between Melbourne and Queenstown from Friday 24 June until 31 August 2016.
The daily winter season JQ 219 service will depart Melbourne at 2.05pm and arrive in Queenstown at 7.20pm. The return service JQ 220 will depart Queenstown at 8.20pm, arriving in Melbourne at 9.55pm.
Grant Kerr, Jetstar Head of New Zealand, said the airline was part of the working group that helped to prepare a Foundation Safety Case on Queenstown after-dark flights.
“In partnership with a range of stakeholders, including the aviation regulator, Queenstown Airport, and our pilots, we’ve prepared our own operator safety case,” Mr Kerr said.
“We’re now working with the relevant regulators to obtain required approvals for our new winter schedule.”
Jetstar said after-dark flights would give the airline scheduling flexibility and provide travellers with more options to plan their winter holiday in Queenstown.
“Holidaymakers will be able to take more advantage of short breaks and spend a full day on the slopes before their flight home,” said Mr Kerr.
“The new schedule also provides better connectivity for customers who are travelling with our long-haul partners to and from Queenstown via Melbourne.”
Jetstar is the second-biggest airline operator in Queenstown with up to 17 international return services a week from Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast and up to 16 domestic return flights a week from Auckland. Flights are operated using Airbus A320 aircraft.
Last year Jetstar boosted its Queenstown winter capacity by more than 25% on the previous year, operating nearly 700 return flights between March and October 2015. Similar capacity will be flown in the same period this year.