Picton-based Sounds Air will start Wanganui-Wellington flights next month to fill the gap left by Air New Zealand's decision to end its service to the capital.

Yesterday, Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford announced the 45-minute flight from Wanganui would resume, leaving at 6.45am Monday to Saturday, and returning 6pm Sunday to Friday.

Three fare structures will be offered - an internet booking at $125 adult and $115 child; standard booking at $135 adult and $125 child; and a 10-trip fare at $1180 ($118 each).

Yesterday Mayor Annette Main said the new service was welcome news.


"I am sure our frequent flyers to the capital will be keen to support the Sounds Air service and that others will see this as a great alternative to driving.

"The new flights are timed to give those doing business in Wellington a good alternative to the five hours return drive-time.

"I know that recreational travellers from our district will also appreciate the return of this important link, as will visitors to the city, river, ski-fields and national parks."

Ms Main added that Sounds Air had a great record in customer service and booking flexibility and those who used the current service were looking forward to the new service.

"It is also encouraging to hear that Sounds Air may consider expanding the service and add more flights in the future. Now it's up to us to use the service and to encourage our friends, families and business associates to do the same."

Sounds Air managing director Andrew Crawford, who was in Wanganui last month, was excited about the prospects for the service, saying it would provide "a gateway for tourists between the two centres".

His company flies between Wellington and Blenheim, Nelson and Picton and has spare capacity to take on the Wanganui service. Air New Zealand's Wanganui to Wellington service ends on December 24.