Businesses in a small Northland town are starting to see the impact of an almost daily air service even before planned additional flights are added to the route.
From March 4, Barrier Air will add an extra flight daily except Tuesdays from Auckland to Kaitaia return due to a growth in demand for air travel on the route, largely driven by Kiwi and overseas tourists.
The Kaitaia Business Association has welcomed the additional flight, saying more travellers would mean more business across the Far North district.
The Auckland-based airline currently operates one return flight from Kaitaia daily except Tuesdays.
It has been flying into Kaitaia since 2014.
Barrier Air chief executive Nick Pearson said demand for air travel to Kaitaia has been growing recently due to a healthy tourism market and his company's focus on delivering reliable service.
He said additional flights would give passengers more flexibility as to when they would like to fly and would be particularly useful for those recreational passengers seeking cheaper off-peak flights or connecting with international services.
"We have recently acquired a third 14-Seat Cessna Grand Caravan in order to service the Far North and add capacity to our scheduled services to Great Barrier Island.
"With increasing the frequency to Kaitaia we are excited to give the residents and visitors to Kaitaia a more regular service with 12 return flights per week," Pearson said.
Regular one-way fares start at $90.
Kaitaia Business Association chairperson Jo Kiro it was great tourists were able to fly directly into Kaitaia before exploring the Far North by road.
"Kaitaia is traditionally very busy during summer and usually the numbers starting dropping off after New Year but that's not obvious this year. There's a lot more foot traffic at this time of the year.
"Great Barrier's decision to fly straight to Kaitaia will add value to our businesses up here.
"People will save time and money by flying in and then they get to see what Far North has to offer."
The new Barrier Air flight will depart Auckland for Kaitaia at 11am and return at 12.40pm except on Tuesdays.
The late-night Friday departure for Auckland at 7.35pm will remain.