Air New Zealand will resume flights to Timaru on June 8.
Air New Zealand general manager networks Scott Carr said the company was pleased to be able to resume Timaru-Wellington flights early next month.
“Bringing Timaru as well as Taupo back into our domestic schedule means we’ll soon operate to all 20 of the domestic destinations we serviced pre-Covid-19, albeit with reduced frequencies.”
Initially, the airline would operate three return services a week between Timaru and Wellington – on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Extra flights would be reintroduced to Air New Zealand’s domestic schedule as demand permitted.
Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon welcomed the news, saying he had made it clear to Air New Zealand in recent weeks that flights in and out of Timaru were a crucial part of the longer-term economic recovery of the central South Island.
“An extended period of no flights would have put the pace of that recovery at risk, particularly as we pivot toward a greater focus on domestic tourism.
“I’ll continue to work with them on the issue of processing refunds for those with cancelled flights, but at the very least the credit that has been offered can now be used for flights in and out of Timaru.”
Rangitata Labour list MP Jo Luxton said Timaru and the wider region would be relieved flights would resume.
“Though there is disappointment that Timaru flights weren’t part of Air New Zealand’s initial schedule for Alert Level 2, I was confident that the airline would see how keen South Cantabrians are to get around the country and reinstate services as soon as possible.
As a regular flyer between Timaru and Wellington, she knew first hand how important the flights were to the region and the announcement would be welcomed by the community, she said.
“With domestic tourismimportant right now, and people travelling for work, it was vital that Timaru Airport’s flights return as demand allowed and I thank Air New Zealand for working hard to reintroduce this domestic route to our region.”