Kiwi Regional Airline departed Tauranga for the first time today with a full flight boung for Nelson.
Kiwi Regional Airlines chief executive Ewan Wilson said sales of seats on the twice-weekly flights to Nelson and on to Dunedin had been "excellent".
"Tauranga is performing well for us against all our other routes, which is fantastic, given we have yet to fly in or out of the city.
"Our experience highlights the need for affordable, direct, inter-regional air services in New Zealand, and vindicates our decision to add the Bay of Plenty as one of our key regions," he said.
Wilson said Kiwi's SAAB340A aircraft was scheduled to arrive in from Nelson at 11.15am, departing 50 minutes later at 12.05pm.
He welcomed members of the public coming to Tauranga Airport to view the aircraft from the terminal.
Flights to Nelson with Kiwi depart at 12.05pm every Tuesday and Saturday, and fly on to Dunedin on Tuesdays.
Air New Zealand operates three Tauranga routes including Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with each of them increasing in capacity in 2016.
It was replacing its 19-seat Beech 1900D operated services to Auckland with a 50-seat Q300 aircraft while the Wellington route capacity would jump by 24per cent and Christchurch by 38 per cent, she said.
Sunair Aviation chief executive Dan Power told the Bay of Plenty Times last month it had been growing steadily year on year.
Due to demand it was going to start flying to the North Shore and back on February 1, for five days a week.
"We are very excited to be able to offer this service as an alternative Auckland destination for our Bay of Plenty residents."