Air NZ says it will soon start flying between Rotorua and Sydney.

The new service, using one of its 152-seat Airbus A320 plane, will start twice a week from December 19.

"Rotorua is an iconic tourism destination and well known amongst Australian travellers. We see the potential for good passenger numbers from Australia and the continued strength of inbound tourism from there has lent weight to our decision," said airline general manager for Tasman Pacific Glen Sowry.

"The new services will also make Rotorua significantly more accessible for visitors from Asia who often visit both Australia and New Zealand and whom we can now bring directly from Sydney to Rotorua instead of via Auckland.

"Through winter the new service also provides significant opportunities in attracting more Australian skiers to the Central North Island ski fields, something I'm sure Mt Ruapehu and nearby businesses will be looking forward to," said Sowry.

He said that while the Tasman remained one of the airline's most challenging markets, it was sill looking for new opportunities, especially when there was strong community support for a new service.

Air NZ is launching the service with a one-way special fare of $209.

- NZ HERALD STAFF