It took less than one hour for Air New Zealand to completely sell out of its $9 airfares. Yes, $9, that’s not an error.

As fears of COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus, continue to grow, airlines have seen a drop in ticket sales. To combat traveller anxiety, some airlines have announced ridiculous deals in an effort to tempt the reluctant. And by the looks of it, it’s working.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the national airline unleashed the sale on its Grabaseat website at 9am this morning. One thousand $NZ9 (about $8.60) one-way tickets went on sale, on all 20 of Air New Zealand’s domestic routes. Unsurprisingly, it sold out within the hour.

“With deals this good, savvy Kiwis will be able to book a relaxing weekend away, catch some autumn sun, or take the kids away to explore a new part of the country,” the airline’s chief revenue officer Cam Wallace said of the 9-buck sale.

It’s the airline’s latest efforts to boost ticketing numbers, after announcing flights across the Tasman from just $NZ66. A flight to Christchurch / Auckland from Melbourne usually sets you back upwards of $250.

Last week, Wallace acknowledged the decline in sales, saying the airline had “seen some softness in demand on routes like the Tasman.”

“We now have some empty seats due to travellers mainly from Asian destinations not connecting between New Zealand and Australia,” he said.

Globally, the coronavirus outbreak has seen a number of landmarks and tourist attractions close. Over the weekend, Universal Studios Japan and Tokyo Disneyland both announced it will close for two weeks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus across the country. In France, officials just announced the temporary closure of the Louvre museum as the country battles to slow down its rapid spread of the virus.

Staff at the Louvre reportedly voted “almost unanimously” to close the gallery, due to a “real concern” that the virus will spread through visitors of the iconic landmark.

There are 29 cases of coronavirus confirmed in Australia, with one confirmed fatality.

Image: Getty Images / NurPhoto