Air New Zealand ceases operating services to and from Kaitaia, Whakatane and Westport today.

The airline's regional carrier Eagle Air is not only pulling out of those towns, it will scale back on serving other towns over the next year and will cease as an airline after nearly 50 years of flying.

However, smaller second-tier airlines are moving to fill the gap.

Great Barrier Airlines is flying from Auckland to Kaitaia, Air Chathams is running a Whakatane to Auckland service and Sounds Air will fly between Westport and Wellington.