Cheap flights: Air New Zealand releases more discount airfares

Air New Zealand has announced it will offer more cheap airfares in 2019 than ever before.

As well as posting a near-record profit this morning, the airline is also investing in new Airbus A320 and A321 NEO aircraft, increasing the number of seats available on domestic flights by around 25 percent.

These aircraft are due to arrive between 2020 and 2024.

"One of the benefits of a growing Air New Zealand is more opportunities than ever for Kiwis to snap up a bargain. In 2019, we will offer more than 2.9 million seats for travel in New Zealand for under $100," CEO Christopher Luxon said.

However, not everyone has welcomed news of cheaper airfares. Regional New Zealand is resentful, and there are accusations the near-record profit has come at a cost to service and loyalty.

"Must be great to have a virtual monopoly with regional travel. Seems to be working out well for them," one traveller said in a post on Newshub Travel's Facebook group.

They continued by criticising the airline's rewards programme.

"I wonder how much of this profit has been due to the constant devaluing of the airpoints programme over the last several years."

There were also negative responses to the profit announcement on Twitter.

"Would be nice to see a bit of the profit spent on the economy passengers @FlyAirNZ #cattleclass."

Air NZ's regional subsidiary Mount Cook Airlines also has 10 ATR 72-600 aircraft on order, which are being introduced as the older ATR 72-500's are phased out.