Air NZ ends Auckland to Kaitaia flights as new airline steps in

Air New Zealand's subsidiary Eagle Air has made its final flights in and out of Kaitaia today after more than 50 years servicing the Far North.

Locals watched the final take off from the national carrier today, but locals will have a new option for flying to Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

Residents came to watch the final takeoff of the Beechcraft 1900 to Auckland.

Locals are calling the moment "sad" and "historic".

But residents will still be able to fly to Auckland with Great Barrier Airlines, which begins three flights a day between Kaitaia and Auckland on a brand new Cessna Caravan that can seat 12 passengers.

The new flights will cost $180 each way.

Great Barrier Airlines general manager, Murray Pope, says the airline has big shoes to fill.

It be using two pilots on the flights to ensure safety, and the company will have a second aircraft on stand-by, he says.

Air New Zealand also stopped operating to and from Whakatane and Westport from today.

Air Chathams will take over the Whakatane to Auckland service, while Sounds Air will fly between Westport and Wellington.