People will today begin travelling between Auckland and Invercargill again as Air New Zealand resumes its service.
The highly anticipated service is hoped to encourage domestic tourism and help in the economic recovery from Covid-19.
The first flight from Auckland to Invercargill is expected to land about 12.40pm today, with a return flight expected to take off shortly before 1.30pm. The service will operate Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
In a statement this morning, Air New Zealand head of tourism and regional affairs Reuben Levermore said the return of the A320 jet service to Invercargill had been highly anticipated by Southlanders.
"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," he said.
"Equally, there’s never been a better time for Aucklanders to experience some iconic New Zealand destinations and experiences such as Stewart Island, Fiordland, the Catlins coast, or Invercargill’s transport mecca."
Great South chief executive Graham Budd also said the reestablishment of a jet service was "a real boost for Southland", while Invercargill's mayor, Tim Shadbolt, said it was important for the region's economic recovery from Covid-19.
"It's crucial for our national recovery and connectivity that we take time out to explore the wonders and excitement of the beautiful scenic south," he said. "The glow worm caves of Te Anau, the ski fields of Queenstown, the best transport museum in the Southern Hemisphere and our famous Bluff Oysters to name just a few of our attractions."
It also comes after Air New Zealand yesterday resumed its Wellington-Invercargill route, with one daily return service to operate the route using the airline’s 50-seat Q300 aircraft. There will also be two additional return services on the route each week of the July school holidays.
Flights between Invercargill and Christchurch resumed under Alert Level 2.