Low airfares to Europe a blessing for Kiwis

Low airfares to Europe a blessing for Kiwis

Increased competition and capacity to Europe has led to some of the lowest airfares seen in years.

A special released today by travel agency Flight Centre has return airfares to Europe for as low as $999.

The low fares are for return flights to Amsterdam on China Eastern Airlines, a relatively new player in the New Zealand travel market.

An on-the-spot comparison, which took place last night, revealed a wide range in airfares between Auckland and Amsterdam.

Return on Air New Zealand to the same destination was listed as $3216, Emirates were a thousand dollars cheaper at $2262. The cheapest as of last night was China Airlines at $1400. The most expensive was Air Canada with two stops and a cost of $12,645.

Flight Centre said the typical average for return flights to Europe is around $1300 to $1600.

Sean Berenson of Flight Centre said that's a substantial drop since five years ago when the average cost was between $2000 and $2500.

"The market is very competitive right now which has been driven by increased competition on popular routes. This has driven a frenzy of sales activity which is great for the consumer while it lasts."

In 1947, a return trip to Europe cost the equivalent of 85 weeks' pay for an average New Zealand worker.

In 1980, it was around 6 weeks of a Kiwi's take home pay, now it's just one weeks' pay for the average Kiwi worker.

It's not just European routes experiencing a golden era of travel.

With increased competition on the North American routes, Qantas have been advertising a return journey to Los Angeles for $899 and Air New Zealand recently sold one way fares to LA for $399.