Jetstar is resuming domestic flights in New Zealand from September 17, with the removal of physical distancing requirements on flights from today.
After a four-week hiatus, the airline will resume up to 75 flights on six domestic routes, which amounts to approximately 60 per cent of its pre-Covid-19 schedule.
Masks will be mandatory on all services and sanitising wipes will be available at the gate and on board.
Jetstar Group CEO Gareth Evans thanked customers for their patience.
"We're really pleased to get our planes and our people back in the sky, right in time for school holidays so we can help reconnect family and friends across the country."
Meanwhile Air New Zealand will drop 160,000 fares below $50 following the removal of physical distancing requirements on planes.
Across all 20 of its routes the airline will offer 180,000 of its cheapest fares following today's announcement.
The airline is also removing change fees for domestic flights booked for travel up until March 31, 2021.
Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran says the removal of physical distancing allows the airline to make more seats available at cheaper prices.
"We're thrilled to be able to offer 160,000 of these fares for under $50, with 9000 of these available during the upcoming school holidays. This is our way of saying thanks to our customers for their support over the past few months,'' he said.
''While our borders are closed, we know Kiwis are keen to get out and explore or visit friends and family, so we want to make travel as easy as possible – and this is also great news for local tourism.''
The airline had been planning for physical distancing up until late this week, so this news allowed it to immediately make those seats available for those who want to travel in the coming days.
With physical distancing airlines could operate Airbus A320s at 65 per cent capacity and turbo prop planes at 50 per cent. Foran said it was important to note the removal of physical distancing didn't mean it's not safe to fly.
''Our crew will continue to wear masks, and face coverings are still a requirement for customers.''
Customers will be able to change their flight to a new date or time, or if they no longer wish to travel, they can put their fare in credit for a later trip. Any fare difference will apply.
Customers who choose to put their fare in credit before the end of March 2021 will have until the end of December 2021 to book using their credit and a further 12 months to fly after the date of booking.
The airline is encouraging anyone who no longer wishes to fly to place their fare in credit through its online booking tool. This is to ensure those who wish to travel can do so. If a customer does not turn up to their flight, normal fare rules will apply.
Air NZ said after announcing its first loss in 18 years that operating at that level produced a small cash profit from domestic operations but it is ''not meaningful''.
The NZ Aviation coalition said it was great news for airlines.
''Removing physical distancing on aircraft clears the way for airlines to be able to fill their planes. For travellers this will mean more available seats, more flights and affordable fares to choose from,'' said co-chair Justin Tighe-Umbers.
''This is such an important move which means people will be able to get out spending in the regions, throwing a lifeline to so many businesses dependent on visitors.''
He said the pragmatic decision from the Ministry of Health which recognises that mandatory masks for everyone on board and existing airline measures will keep travellers safe.
''Having seating restrictions removed from alert level 2 means that the domestic network can continue to operate without losing up to three quarters of normal capacity which is impossible for airlines to keep up.''
The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association (NZALPA) had been calling for compulsory use of masks on all flights since May.
Association president Captain Andrew Ridling said: 'We are pleased that the Ministry of Health and Cabinet has listened to expert advice and eased the physical distancing restrictions on New Zealand airlines."
Filtered air on board aircraft was safer than even the air in hospital operating theatres.
''This means the risk of transmission of Covid-19 through cabin air is very low.''
The announcement also mades New Zealand more consistent with the recommendations from the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the International Air Travel Association (IATA) and the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations (IFALPA).
"As we said over five months ago, masks and anti-bacterial efforts are much more effective than removing access to aircraft cabins' middle seats. This reinstatement of the use of those seats will now help curb any dramatic cost increases to air travel, prevent seats going empty and help cushion COVID-19's blow to the industry, jobs and our economy," Ridling said.