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Air New Zealand boosts Melbourne flights by 25%

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 29 October 2003

Air New Zealand today announced a 25 per cent increase in flights from Melbourne to New Zealand, and fare reductions of up to 36 per cent, as it launched its new Tasman Express service, featuring low fares on every trans Tasman flight, every day of the year.

The airline also introduced brand new Airbus A320 twinjets between Melbourne and New Zealand, and unveiled a new caf style catering on its trans Tasman services.

Effective immediately, Air New Zealand will add four weekly A320 flights from Melbourne to Auckland, departing at 12.15pm every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, arriving in New Zealand at 5.45pm.

And from 1 December, New Zealand's national carrier will add three more Melbourne - Christchurch services, operating overnight every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Initially, one of these will be operated by an A320, with plans to increase progressively the number of Airbus services.

The seven new flights will lift the airline's Melbourne departures from the current 28 per week to 35, operating to Auckland 18 times per week, Christchurch 10 times weekly and Wellington daily.

The new Airbus jets, and the new light and healthy meal service, are being introduced as part of the much anticipated Tasman Express service, the core offering of which is low fares, every day on every Air New Zealand flight between Australia and New Zealand.

From today, Air New Zealand will offer the year-round discounts from Melbourne to 25 destinations in New Zealand.

One way internet fares from Melbourne to Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington start at $246, with return fares starting at just $450 return, including Australian taxes and charges - and there are plenty more low fares to and within New Zealand.

"We've got New Zealand covered with discounted air fares from Melbourne to every destination we serve in New Zealand," said Mr Michael Reed, Air New Zealand's Regional Manager Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

"Our new Tasman Express service guarantees low fares on every Air New Zealand flight from Melbourne to New Zealand, every day of the year," said Mr Reed.

"Fares on our Tasman services will fall by as much as 36 per cent, while an average 25 per cent of all of our fares will now be available as SmartSavers, our lowest fare category.

"But low fares does not mean no frills - we continue to include in the air fare meals, drinks, audio and video entertainment, the excellent cabin service for which Air New Zealand is renowned, and - progressively - our brand new Airbus A320 aircraft."

Air New Zealand has placed firm orders for 15 Airbus A320s, largely for use on trans-Tasman services, replacing a mix of smaller Boeing 737-300s and larger Boeing 767-200s.

Initially, the 146 seat Airbuses, which offer both Business Class and Pacific Class cabins, will operate from Melbourne and Sydney to Auckland and Christchurch, with their network expanding as new jets enter the fleet.

The A320 Business Class cabin features eight seats, with a spacious 42-inch seat pitch (the space between one seat and the same point on the next seat) providing plenty of legroom. Each Business Class seat is a comfortable 20.9 inches wide with a seven inch recline, an extending legrest and a fully adjustable headrest.

For passengers wanting to work on board, each Business Class seat features a laptop power connection, and accepts most power plugs without the need for an adaptor. And for those Business Class passengers preferring to relax, there are 10 audio channels, a portable DVD player with a nine inch screen, and an on board library of 15 DVD cassettes.

In Pacific Class there are 138 leather-covered seats, configured in a 3 x 3 layout. Each seat is 17.9 inches wide with a five inch recline and a comfortable 32 inch seat pitch. Again, there are 10 audio entertainment channels, plus fold down video screens every three seat rows, and two main cabin screens on the forward bulkhead.

The whole aircraft also features large overhead storage compartments, developed to fit American-style 22 inch roller bags.

The new Airbus aircraft typically cruise at 830 km/h, over a range of up to 3,850 kilometres at maximum payload.

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