A young plane spotter got more than he bargained for when he asked Queenstown Airport about arrivals in alert level 2.

Flight NZ1209 touched down from Auckland on Saturday at 2.13pm.

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It was Queenstown's first scheduled commercial jet flight in 45 days.


The jet's arrival was another sign that domestic tourism was starting up again in the resort, after Skyline Queenstown also officially reopened at the weekend.

Arrowtown Primary School pupil Jackson Nolan, 11, keen to know when commercial flights would be returning so he could photograph them on approach from his family home, emailed the airport directly to find out.

"They responded saying, 'Yes, there is' ... a few days later, they invited me here today," he said on Saturday.

"It was a great experience to go airside and watch it come in and land and taxi into the arrivals."

However, Jackson admitted photography was unlikely to be his true calling.

"When I'm older, I'd like to be a pilot because they look like such cool things to fly and it would be really exciting."

Queenstown Lakes mayor Jim Boult said the plane's arrival was a small, but very important, start to the region's economic recovery.

"This is the spark that gets the engine going but what we really want now is the transtasman bubble and we're working with Government to try and make that happen.''


National MP for Clutha-Southland Hamish Walker said the airport was the ''heartbeat'' of the region.

''We now have a pulse."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website