'I think Air New Zealand realised the game was up': Shane Jones says the national carrier had to change

Air New Zealand will sell seats on domestic flights for as little as $39 under a major overhaul of ticket prices.

While the airline says hundreds of thousands of seats will be available for low fares, travel experts say such fares will only suits some travellers.

The country's national carrier announced today it will sell 750,000 seats a year for under $50.

It's the biggest overhaul of the airline's domestic pricing structure in more than a decade.

But House of Travel's Brent Thomas says don't get too excited. 

"Well those people who have to book late, they may miss out because this will benefit those who can book early, or those who have flexibility in their travel times."

Fourty-one domestic and regional routes are included in the shakeup.

Auckland to Invercargill which can retail for hundreds of dollars one way now has a base fare of $79.

Regional Development Minister, Shane Jones says the national carrier had to change. 

"I think Air New Zealand realised the game was up, you can't build a business by continually gouging the regions and paying lip service to them."

He says it has potential to help our small towns flourish. 

"If the cheap ones are at 12-o-clock in the day and everyone has to travel in the early morning or the evening then it'll be disingenuous." 

Air New Zealand hoping its new fares will restore faith of many travellers from regional New Zealand.