Social distancing rules on flights should be reconsidered in light of Queenstown's "economically desperate situation", its mayor says.
Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult said the rules were excessive and should be re-examined ahead of the school holidays.
Under current social distancing and mask regulations, commercial aircraft are only able to be filled to between half and two-thirds of capacity.
That was already badly affecting businesses in the district and, if continued, would have a "seriously detrimental effect" on visitor numbers during the upcoming school holidays, Mr Boult said.
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"I fully understand the need to protect Kiwis from Covid-19.
"However, given the requirement for masks I think the social distancing rules on aircraft are excessive. We're in an economically desperate situation and the district needs the additional travellers that a relaxing of distancing requirements would bring.
"We are aware of current unsatisfied demand by would-be visitors to the district, which is frustrating given the position local businesses find themselves in."
He "strongly urged" the government to reconsider airline distancing requirements.