Air New Zealand has announced extra early morning flights in and out of Tauranga Airport to Auckland and Wellington are on the way.

An extra flight to Wellington will start in April to meet demand during peak business times, meaning two peak morning flights will now depart the city before 7.30am.

The new schedule also means two peak morning weekday flights to Auckland for the business community.

Both early morning flights will be operated by the airline's 68-seat ATR aircraft.
Some other evening services from Auckland will also operate the larger ATR aircraft.

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Air New Zealand said the changes reflected a 20 per cent growth demand on Tauranga services over winter, compared to the same period last year.

The finalised new flights schedule, which would be revealed progressively, would see a total of 87 return flights from Tauranga to the two cities each week.

Tauranga property developer and Classic Builders owner Peter Cooney and his staff are regular commuters to Auckland and Wellington to do business.

Cooney said he flies to Auckland at least every second day and his staff also regularly flew to Auckland and the capital for business.

"The last couple of years there has certainly been an explosion in demand for flights to and from both cities, Auckland in particular," he said.

"Particularly when it's a three-and-half-hour drive to Auckland, and you can often get stuck in the traffic for up to two hours," he said.

Cooney said extra flights was "fantastic" news as it provided more opportunities for Tauranga people to create or expand their businesses in the Auckland region.

"But it's really vice versa as well as more and more people from Auckland are wanting to expand their business interests here and are flying in and out of Tauranga regularly. "

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Cooney said extra business opportunities had a flow-on benefit to the local economy.

It would be great if Air New Zealand reduced the fares at the same time, he said.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec agreed it was "terrific news".

"Air NZ have shown they are listening to their Tauranga customer base, and that they have confidence in these routes to cater especially for business travellers," he said.

In a written statement, Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive officer Kristin Dunne said she was "delighted" .

Dunne said she had been in discussions with Air New Zealand "for quite some time to help this become a reality and meet the needs of a growing economy".

"This is a show of faith from Air New Zealand in recognising the exponential growth this region has experienced – one that is forecast to continue."

Tauranga Airport manager Ray Dumble said greater numbers helped enhance operational efficiency in terms of arrivals and departures and more connectivity was great for the city.

"I applaud Air New Zealand for addressing this issue by adding more flights and creating a user-friendly schedule - and I have no doubt our business community does too.

"This will only further enhance Tauranga's reputation as a leading airport and destination," Dumble said.

Air New Zealand regional affairs manager Ian Collier said it was " terrific" to see continued strong demand for services into and out of Tauranga.

"We are pleased we have been able to achieve this additional capacity at peak business times on both our Tauranga-Wellington and Tauranga-Auckland routes.

"This is a result of collaboration between the local chamber, airport, council and Bay of Plenty Tourism, and will be of great benefit to the wider community," Collier said.