6 Jul 2020

'Crucial' flights between Auckland and Invercargill resume

11:55 am on 6 July 2020

The return of a jet service between Auckland and Invercargill has been welcomed after it was grounded during lockdown.

Air New Zealand airplanes wait for passengers outside the international terminal as a plane taxis (L) at Wellington International airport on February 20, 2020.

File photo. Photo: AFP

Air New Zealand will resume its service today, operating on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The first flight will touch down about 12.40pm.

It was first launched last year and was heralded as a game changer.

But Covid-19 and lockdown put a dampener on the flights which last left Invercargill on 28 March.

Air New Zealand head of tourism and regional affairs, Reuben Levermore, said the return of the jet service has been highly anticipated by the Southland community.

"When we initially launched the jet service last year, we couldn't have asked for a more enthusiastic response from the Southland community who know full well the value of a direct connection to our country's largest city and international gateway," Levermore said.

Great South chief executive Graham Budd said reestablishing the service was a real boost for Southland.

"The service renews the connectivity that is essential for locals, businesses, exporters and visitors, helping to put Invercargill and the wider Southland region on the map and playing a significant role in the region's economic recovery," Budd said.

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said it was crucial for the national recovery and connectivity to reestablish the route and for people to explore the region.

The airline resumed its Wellington to Invercargill route yesterday with two additional return services each week of the school holidays.

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