A budget airline boss says its services to Queenstown have played a major role in its success.
Jetstar announced its five-millionth passenger on the domestic New Zealand network this week.
More than one million of those have flown on flights to and from the resort since the carrier began Queenstown services in 2009.
And Queenstown tourism industry sector bosses say the resort has benefited from frequent low-cost flights as much as the airline.
Jetstar boss for New Zealand and Australia David Hall says: “Queenstown is an iconic and aspirational year-round destination for all New Zealanders.
“With up to 20 direct flights a week from Auckland and Wellington it’s a very important part of our domestic network.”
This winter Jetstar will boost its schedules with up to 30 weekly domestic services and seven weekly international services for Queenstown to Sydney and Queenstown to Melbourne.
Airport boss Scott Paterson says: “Contributing more than 35 per cent of the airline traffic servicing Queenstown, Jetstar has become a key partner for the airport and the Southern Lakes region.”
In the last four years, it has doubled its services to Queenstown.
“Over those few years, Jetstar passenger numbers have steadily increased.
“In the last 12 months alone, more than 400,000 passengers have flown a Queenstown route on Jetstar aircraft.”
The airline started with domestic services between Queenstown and Auckland and Queenstown and Christchurch in 2009.
On December 2010 it launched international routes and now serves Auckland, Wellington, Sydney and Melbourne.
“Jetstar has helped build visitation to the town by increasing capacity and offering competitive pricing on different domestic and international routes is good for the passenger,” Scott says.
“It is particularly strong on running year-round schedules which helps promote Queenstown as a four-season destination.”
Destination Queenstown boss Graham Budd says the introduction of services helped make Queenstown a more accessible and cost-effective destination for both domestic and trans-Tasman visitors.
“We enjoy working with Jetstar and its regular introduction of new services and schedules, as well as its promotion of the region, has been invaluable in helping to build and service visitor demand,” Budd says.
Jetstar dropped its Christchurch service last year faced with declining sales to and from the stricken city.