Kiwis with relatives on the Gold Coast will be able to fly direct from Wellington and Queenstown on new services from Jetstar.

The airline launched its first international service from Wellington today, announcing it will fly between Wellington and the Gold Coast three times a week.

The budget carrier will also become the only airline to fly between Queenstown and the Gold Coast three times a week.

Wellington Airport chief executive Steve Sanderson said around one in 10 Gold Coast residents were New Zealand born, which would put the flights in high demand.


"There will now be a cost-effective, direct route not only for holidaymakers but for family members wanting to travel home and visit loved ones."

To signal the announcement, Jetstar is offering special seat-only fares from $99 one way from Wellington and $129 one way from Queenstown until midnight tonight.

Regular lead-in fares from Wellington would start from $179 and Queenstown from $229 for a seat-only.

The transtasman service would launch in early December, with Wellington to Gold Coast services offered on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Queenstown to Gold Coast flights would be offered on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

It would be the first time in over 10 years a new airline has launched year-round international services from Wellington, Jetstar's New Zealand head Grant Kerr said.

It would also be the first time in five years an airline has offered flights from Wellington direct to the Gold Coast, he said.

"We've been operating domestic services to and from Wellington for over five years and we're delighted today to announce our first international services from the capital.


"This is the first time in years that Wellingtonians have been able to fly direct to the Gold Coast."

He said he believed the low fare routes would stimulate travel and tourism in both directions.

"We're sure Gold Coast residents will welcome the chance to fly direct to our vibrant capital city on holiday or to visit a friend."

Wellington Airport's Mr Sanderson said the direct service to the Gold Coast was a huge win for Wellington and would add 50,000 seats to the transtasman market.

"Jetstar will be the first new international airline to begin regular services to Wellington in more than 10 years and it is great to see their continued commitment to the region."

Mr Sanderson said other than direct long-haul flights to Asia and North America, the service to the Gold Coast was the most popular route requested by Wellingtonians.

"It will save significant time and cost for travellers who currently fly via Brisbane or Auckland."

Tourism Industry Association policy and research manager Simon Wallace said the new services would be a boost to New Zealand's tourism industry.

"Australia is New Zealand's largest visitor market but one that still offers plenty of opportunity for growth," he said.

Sustainable air routes would be critically important to boosting the industry's value from $24 billion a year to $41 billion by 2025, he said.

"When new sustainable air connections are established, the whole industry benefits. We encourage tourism operators in the Wellington and Otago regions to do all they can to support Jetstar to make a success of the new services."