Change in the Air: Barrier Air Revises Ticket Policy Amid Soaring Costs. Photo / 100% Pure NZ

Barrier Air Adjusts Ticket Policies Amid Soaring Costs

Change in the Air: Barrier Air Revises Ticket Policy Amid Soaring Costs. Photo / 100% Pure NZ

Barrier Air has announced changes to its ticketing policy, a decision prompted by rising cost pressures. The move, which now restricts changes to tickets to within 24 hours of flight time, replacing the previous 2-hour window, has ignited debate among Great Barrier Island residents.

Barrier Air Chief Executive Grant Bacon told AoteaGBI.news the change had been due to a minority of people blocking out multiple seats and then cancelling hours before flights were due to depart.

“Yes, it is mainly due to the occurrence of scenarios where customers were making multiple bookings across flights and then cancelling right before the cutoff, which means that we are flying flights that still need to operate but are ultimately unviable,” Bacon explained.

Highlighting the airline’s predicament, Bacon added, “Most passengers cancel for genuine reasons, and being able to cancel up to 11:59 pm the day prior means that there is still flexibility.” The adjustment aims to mitigate the impact of last-minute cancellations while maintaining leeway for travelers, he added.

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The changes come against a backdrop of increasing operational costs, with fuel prices on the rise and engine overhaul expenses now exceeding $700,000 USD. “Unfortunately, the cost of operating is still increasing…we just need the flights to be full in order to cover these ongoing and significant cost increases,” Bacon stated, underscoring the financial realities confronting the airline.

He added, while the new Terms and Conditions are slated for April, they’re already on the website. Tickets sold before the update will be honored under the original terms at the point of sale, he added.

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In addition to operational challenges, Barrier Air is bracing for an uptick in costs due to Auckland Airport’s $8 billion redevelopment project. This massive overhaul is expected to dramatically increase airport taxes, affecting regional carriers like Barrier Air. “Some costs have increased by around 100 percent overnight,” Bacon remarked, signaling a steep climb in operational expenses that will inevitably be passed on to consumers. “Ticket prices,” he noted, “will increase from April.”

The surge in operational costs due to the decade-long redevelopment is not only a concern for Barrier Air but has also prompted industry giants like Air New Zealand and the Qantas Group to demand scrutiny. Air New Zealand has led the charge, calling for an urgent inquiry into what it deems runaway spending by Auckland Airport, fearing charges per passenger could leap from $9 to $46 by 2032. The Qantas Group, encompassing Jetstar and Qantas flights, alongside industry bodies such as the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (Barnz), has echoed this sentiment, seeking greater oversight of airport costs.

Amid the calls for investigation, Air Chathams, another key regional player, has voiced its struggles with the proposed fee increases, which it finds “extremely challenging”. With increased rents for hangars and office spaces compounding their woes, Air Chathams’ COO, Duane Emeny, highlights the disproportionate impact on smaller airlines that won’t necessarily reap the benefits of the airport upgrades, “We don’t feel it is fair to put this burden on small turbo-prop airlines with limited access to capital.” Emeny told NZHerald.

Bacon was keen to emphasize the positive relationship Barrier Air has with its customer base, noting, “I should say also that most of our customers are awesome and usually only cancel for genuine reasons.” Bacon stressed his appreciation for the airline’s passengers, despite the challenging circumstances.

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There is 1 comment

  1. Hey Grant, thanks your good service, especially over the challenges with COVID!
    Have you considered Ardmore airport as an alternative to Mangere?
    No parking fees for travelers, heaps less airport charges, and only half hour extra commute from Mangere!
    Also much aircraft service available there…

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