Air New Zealand Ltd. has become the second airline Down Under in recent weeks to increase the surcharge it applies to bookings initiated with certain payment cards.

According to the airline, consumers who use a payment card will pay surcharges totaling NZ$2 (US$1.5 or 1.2 euros) for each one-way domestic flight, NZ$5 for each short-haul Tasman or Pacific Island flight, and NZ$10 for each long-haul international flight. Previously, the airline charged NZ$8 for an international flight, but did not assess a surcharge for other flights.

The airline says it increased the charges to recover the rising costs associated with credit, debit and charge card transactions. The new policy takes effect Dec. 15.

Consumers may avoid the fees by paying through their Internet banking service or by using Air New Zealand’s reward points and travel cards. The fee also does not apply when paying with cash or when using an EFTPOS PIN-debit card to pay at an Air New Zealand Holidays store or travel agent.

The increasing cost of card-payment processing has given the airline no choice but to follow the example of airlines like Qantas Airways Ltd. and pass along the expense, Bruce Parton, Air New Zealand group general manager for Australasia, said in the airline’s notice about the pricing change. He did not describe what caused those expenses to rise.

Qantas announced on Nov. 24 that it will increase its surcharge from AU$25 (US$24.50 or 18 euros) to AU$30 per passenger starting Dec. 1 for bookings of international flights made with credit, debit or charge cards, prompting criticism from a consumer group (see story).

Qantas customers may avoid the surcharge by booking flights online and paying through Bpay, a third-party online-payment system operated by Australia-based CardLink Services Ltd.

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