Air Chathams will start scheduled international services later this year to Norfolk Island with weekly flights from Auckland.

The fast-growing airline will plug a gap left by Norfolk Island Airlines, which quit the route just over a year ago and before that, Air New Zealand.

Air Chathams has been flying to Norfolk Island with a range of charter tour groups which it says have been well patronised and encouraged it to start the scheduled service.

The new route will be flown by Convair 580 aircraft regularly used by Air Chathams for the recent charter flights to Norfolk and regular services to the Chatham Islands.


Introductory fares are expected to start at $199 (excluding tax) and tickets will go on sale mid to late this month for the flights expected to start on September 6. Air Chathams would fly up every Friday, returning the same day, meaning passengers would typically spend a week on Norfolk Island.

The Convair is configured for 50 passengers with an estimated flight time of just over two hours.

Air New Zealand used to fly the route but it pulled out in 2017, citing difficulty making the service pay.

Air Chathams general manager Duane Emeny said his airline was getting many queries about when flights would commence and was ''very confident'' that this would be another successful route for the family-owned airline.

It has filled in on regional routes that Air NZ used to fly - including abruptly dumped Kapiti flights - and is expanding and modernising its fleet. The sturdy Convair planes date back to the 1950s.

"There are so many parallels between Norfolk Island and the Chatham Islands, except perhaps the weather. And we are really excited to re-establish that direct link to Auckland,'' said Emeny.

The island is 8km by 5km and located between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. The Australian-administered territory used to be a penal colony.

Air Chathams had made ''significant investments'' in anticipation of the success of the direct Auckland to Norfolk route, gaining required approvals from Australian Home Affairs, approvals from the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority and Ministry of Transport.


A new website and online booking platform was launched last week.

As part of its expansion the airline has reportedly leased an ex-Air New Zealand ATR turbo prop and is eyeing new aircraft, including narrow body jets.