Air Chathams says it is waiting for Auckland to move to Covid-19 level 2 before resuming flights there from Whanganui.
But in the meantime, the airline is being kept busy with two very unique types of cargo - rugby players and crayfish.
The airline's chief operating officer, Duane Emeny, said business was building back nicely in August, and the quarantine-free bubble with Australia was having a positive impact on all its North Island locations.
"That includes Whanganui," Emeny said.
"People were starting to be able to confidently book their travel into the (Pacific) Islands and into Australia, plus we were able to restart our Norfolk Islands service.
"In August, we were on track to increase all of our frequencies back to the pre-Covid levels of 2019."
The country's latest series of lockdowns, which Auckland was still in, had put paid to that, Emeny said.
"It's pretty gutting, because our bookings were looking really promising across the board going into summer."
He said Air Chathams was targeting alert level 2 for flights from Whanganui to Auckland to fly again.
"That's purely because the expectation is that under level 2, the regional boundary around Auckland will be dropped," Emeny said.
"There would be a lot fewer restrictions around that domestic travel. We could be operating today if we wanted, we'd just be flying empty. There's not much sense in that.
"We are doing a lot of flying with New Zealand Rugby, and that's a relationship that started with Whanganui Rugby.
"Off the back of that, we are now flying a whole bunch of Heartland teams around the country.
"We've got the women's NPC and all New Zealand rugby league's flying as well."
Because Air New Zealand services had been "scaled way back", Air Chathams was there to take on the bigger rugby groups, Emeny said.
"They travel in groups of 30, so that would block a whole aeroplane.
"We've always prided ourselves on being flexible, so we have aircraft that can operate with passengers, then the same plane can operate as a full freight aircraft too.
"There has been quite a lot of work flying crayfish out of the South Island into Auckland. Again, they don't have those domestic connections and they need to get to those international flights that are leaving the country.
"I'd hate to think how much crayfish we've hauled in the last couple of months. It's been incredible."
The airline had managed to keep all its crew employed, without the reduction of pay, Emeny said.
The Government's wage subsidy and central transport connectivity fund was helping Air Chathams make ends meet.
"The connectivity fund helps out the smaller, regional airlines, not Air New Zealand," Emeny said.
"That's to make sure those essential connections like the Chatham Islands and what we do in Whanganui can keep running, or at least keep money coming in if things are suspended."
Well over 80 per cent of Air Chathams staff had received at least one round of the Covid-19 vaccine, Emeny said.
In terms of requiring both travellers and staff to be vaccinated before flying with Air Chathams, Emeny said he hoped the Government would lay out a clear message in the coming weeks.
"If you are the only operator into some of these isolated areas that rely on air travel, like the Chatham islands, then it's a big call to make.
"When it comes to domestic travel, the Government would be doing us a massive favour if they were to take the lead on it. If they say it's not to be mandated then it is what it is, and if it is mandated then we can follow their legislation.
"From a business point of view, it takes a lot of risk away. At the end of the day, our business wants our staff to be fully vaccinated, but we can't force that on everyone."
Emeny said the airline had always received "really awesome support" from Whanganui, and he hoped that would continue when conditions allowed.
"It's all about supporting local, and after six years of operating there, we'd like to think we're local.
"The council had already reached out and engaged with us, and are helping us out through Whanganui and Partners.
"There's some rent relief and airport operating fee relief for us when we start, which will be hugely important.
"Once we know what we can and can't do, we'll get into it."