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Airlines defend flight price discrepancy

Airlines are defending the pricing for flights from Auckland to London after it was revealed return tickets are up to twice as expensive originating in Auckland as they are in London.

A survey by the New Zealand Herald says return flights from London to Auckland were as low as $1500 with some major airlines, but flights booked from Auckland sometimes went over the $3000 mark.

But an Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the price reflected greater demand for return flights from Auckland than from London.

"In simple terms, the most cheap fares sell out first on any airline operating to and from New Zealand," she told the newspaper.

Qantas said airlines had to match their fares to local conditions, as did every other international business.

House of Travel spokesman Brent Thomas said there were times they put people on flights to Australia to fly to the United States or Britain because it was cheaper than flying from Auckland.