Air New Zealand will launch three new direct regional services and increase capacity on selected routes next year.
The move comes off the back of the recent announcement to buy three additional Bombardier Q300 aircraft for Air Nelson.
The introduction of the new non-stop Air New Zealand Link routes will commence in October with the launch of Invercargill-Wellington and New Plymouth-Christchurch. December will see the launch of a direct Tauranga-Christchurch service, said Air New Zealand Group General Manager of Short Haul Airlines Norm Thompson.
Additionally, frequency on the Dunedin-Wellington and Queenstown-Wellington non-stop routes will increase in December 2007 with the use of Mount Cook’s 66 seat ATR72 aircraft.
Mr Thompson said the increase in regional operations will mean the creation of new jobs.
Additional flight attendants will be recruited and regional crew bases extended to support the increased Air Nelson operations, he said.
As at December 2006, twelve Q300s are in service, progressively replacing Air Nelsons Saab 340A.
Mr Thompson said the Q300s had proven the right choice for regional customers, who were providing overwhelmingly positive feedback on the comfort and reliability of the aircraft.
Confirmed schedules and ticket sale dates for the new routes will be advised in the New Year.