Air fares to NZ set to rise after merger

31 May 2001

AUCKLAND – Trans-Tasman airfares could rise as competition will be reduced on the route if Qantas' proposal to buy Air New Zealand was successful, according to the New Zealand Tourism Industry Association (TIA).

The association's chief executive, John Moriarty, said the Qantas proposal would be a barrier to tourism, a report in The Age said.

"The main thing that the consumer and the international traveller is after is the assurance that they are getting a good deal and that they can enjoy New Zealand's tourism opportunities without a huge barrier to entry."

Moriarty said 600,000 Australians holiday in New Zealand every year and that would fall if air fares rose as a result of Qantas owning Air NZ.

However, new Australian cut-price airline Virgin Blue could end up providing some competition, he was quoted saying. It is currently lobbying to get the necessary government approvals to cross the Tasman, he said.

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