It will be chocks away for Jetstar services through Hawke's Bay from next Tuesday when the inaugural flight JQ350 takes off for Auckland.

Among those aboard the 50-seater Q300 will be Associate Minister of Transport and Minister for Small Business, Craig Foss.

After Jetstar announced on August 31 it would be including Napier on its new regional schedule with flights to Auckland Mr Foss described it as "a real vote of confidence in our region".

He said both businesses and families would benefit as the airline, which is engaged in competition with Air New Zealand, had brought in lower airfares.


Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said the decision was "huge news" for the region.

"It's a complete game-changer for tourism growth opportunities - competitive airfares are good for domestic tourism but this will also open up international connections to Australia too."

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said the regional teams who pushed for the service had clearly shown that the Bay was a region on the up, and with plenty of potential.

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule described it as a long-awaited prize.

"It is very exciting that we have landed a huge player."

Since Jetstar announced the new Napier-Auckland service bookings had been strong for the three daily flights.

The service is planned to expand to four return services a day from February 1.

The Jetstar colours however have already been spotted at Hawke's Bay Airport.


"Yes, sharp-eyed people will have seen it there on Tuesday," the airline's communications manager Phil Boeyen said.

"We have been doing trial flights this week which is a standard part of our preparations and it has all gone very well."

The introduction of Jetstar now mean three airlines are serving the region, with Sounds Air kicking off is services to Blenheim earlier this month.

Next Tuesday, to celebrate the start of the new Auckland link, there will be an official function in the main terminal from 7.30am, with flight JQ350 scheduled to take off at 9am.

An official welcome featuring a spectacular water arch will be staged upon arrival at Auckland Airport at 10am.