Good news for those flying home for Christmas, as Air New Zealand has said it is laying on extra direct A320 services between Auckland and Invercargill for the festive period.
The direct service will have 10 additional flights scheduled between 21 December and 10 January to help those flying home for the holidays. It is expected that many Kiwis using the summer holidays to explore more of Southland, Fiordland and Stewart Island.
"We've been encouraged by Kiwis' appetite for leisure travel over recent months. By operating the jet service over the holiday period, more friends and families will have the chance to reunite, take a holiday north or experience the deep south," said Air New Zealand's head of regional tourism, Reuben Levermore.
The route which was launched in August last year was the airline's newest route, after a five year project by Invercargill airport to lengthen the runway and accommodate the jet service.
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Pandemic disruption led to service cuts saw the Invercargill service grounded until 6 July, with further disruption from the second Auckland lockdown.
Invercargill Airport General Manager Nigel Finnerty says, "Having the extra flights over the summer holidays gives those up north every opportunity to come down and taste our amazing southern hospitality, have a good look around and just spend some time at our place. It is great news for the whole southern region."
The region offers a variety of draws for outdoorsy tourists and two Great Walks. The Stewart Island Rakiura Track is a favourite among wildlife lovers for the abundance of wild kiwi and nearby the Hump Ridge Track is New Zealand's 11th and newest Great Walk.