Travelling to and from Southland is set to become significantly more straight-forward with one of New Zealand’s largest air carriers on board to connect people between Invercargill and Auckland.
Air New Zealand has today confirmed that it will be carrying out a commercial trial of direct flights between Invercargill and Auckland.
The trial period will launch in the second half of 2019 and will involve an Airbus A320 jet aircraft providing a fast and cost-effective route between the two centres.
Venture Southland GM for Business and Strategic projects Steve Canny said Venture Southland had partnered with regional stakeholders to encourage the establishment of the direct route.
This involved research commissioned by Venture Southland in 2017 that showed clear demand for daily return flights to Auckland.
“The research formed the basis of a strong business case so it’s good to see today’s announcement reflecting the needs of Southland people, industries and businesses,” Canny said.
The new schedule of flights, which will become the longest domestic Air New Zealand flight, will benefit both local businesses and the wider Southland tourism industry by encouraging itineraries into the Catlins, Stewart Island, Fiordland and other Southland destinations.
“A direct flight give tourists more motivation to travel south and provides tremendous opportunities for Southland exporting and air freight businesses,” Canny said.
It is envisioned that the new flight routes will result in significant cost savings and allow those travelling to save between two and five and a half hours of travel time.
“A direct flight will take about two hours, so will give those travelling for both work and play more time on the ground in their new destination,” Canny said.
The flights will depart Invercargill at 6 am and arrive in Auckland at 7:55 am, with the Auckland-Invercargill flight departing at 7:35 pm.
Canny said the success of the proposed service will come down to the effective marketing of the new route and Southlanders supporting the travel opportunities associated with it.
“There is already a large number of Southland stakeholders pledging their support including the Invercargill Licensing Trust, Southern Institute of Technology, SBS Bank, Invercargill Airport, Southland Chamber of Commerce and media organisations, with exporters also responding positively to the air freight opportunities that will now be available for high value exports, ” Canny said.
Air New Zealand’s schedule for its direct Invercargill-Auckland service, operated by its A320 jet aircraft, is as follows:
|Flight Number||Departs||Arrives||Days of week||Aircraft type|
|NZ698||Invercargill 6am||Auckland 7:55am||Mon/Tues/Thur/Fri/Sat||A320|
|NZ699||Auckland 7:35pm||Invercargill 9:35pm||Mon/Wed/Thurs/Fri/Sun||A320|
Air New Zealand will announce the commencement date for the new service when tickets go on sale in January.