Tauranga-based airline Sunair Aviation has become the first regional non-jet operator in the North Island to be selected as a preferred air carrier on the All of Government panel.

The airline tendered for the panel last year and, after an exhaustive process, was advised late last year that its application had succeeded.

The new status became effective from the beginning of this month and the airline has already begun carrying government personnel.

"We're very excited about this - it's a real coup for us," said director Bev Power, who co-owns the airline with her husband, Daniel, the chief executive and a certified commercial pilot and aeronautical engineer.

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Last year All of Government air travel was said to be worth $223 million, split between a number of large operators. Jetstar made it on to the panel this year for the first time, but the only other regional non-jet carrier to be selected was the South Island's Picton-based Sounds Air.

New Zealand Government Procurement said suppliers on the new panel collectively provided the Government with a suitable range of services for international and domestic travel while increasing connectivity to New Zealand's regions.