Air Chathams has taken flight on its first scheduled international service.

The independently-owned airline, which services the Whanganui-Auckland route, started weekly direct flights between Auckland and Norfolk Island on Friday.

Air Chathams owner and CEO Craig Emeny, and his son Duane Emeny, the company's general manager, were the captain and first officer on the inaugural flight on a Convair 580.

The flight was a milestone for Air Chathams which began in 1985 with one five-seat Cessna aircraft.

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"Whilst we have operated internationally in the South Pacific regularly over the past decade, this is the first time our family airline has marketed and operated a scheduled international service under the Air Chathams banner," Duane Emeny said.

"Reconnecting Norfolk Island with Auckland fits appropriately with our core values to ensure isolated communities are provided safe, reliable air services to promote growth and connectivity."

Air Chathams is using its Convair 580 on its new international route between Auckland and Norfolk Island. Photo / Supplied
Air Chathams is using its Convair 580 on its new international route between Auckland and Norfolk Island. Photo / Supplied

During the past two years, Air Chathams has regularly flown charter tour groups to Norfolk Island. Given the popularity of the charters and the shorter timeframe of just over two hours with a direct flight from Auckland, the airline has been working with Norfolk Island Tourism and the Norfolk Island Regional Council for the past 12 months to promote the new route.

The route will be serviced by the Convair 580 aircraft regularly used by Air Chathams for charters and service to the Chatham Islands. Air Chathams will fly to Norfolk Island every Friday, departing Auckland at 9am and returning same day from Norfolk.