Tasmanians will be able to fly direct to New Zealand from April 22, with Air New Zealand revealing the start date for their new route.
The new Hobart-Auckland link gives Kiwis direct passage to the Apple Isle, and allows Tasmanians to bypass the mainland when travelling to Aotearoa.
The new route has followed swiftly from the start of the trans-Tasman bubble, which will allow quarantine-free travel from Australia to New Zealand, as of April 19.
It is Tasmania’s first regularly scheduled international route in 25 years, and comes after much agitation from local tourism officials.
“This is a huge milestone and I’m sure the entire community will benefit from this new service,” Hobart Airport chief executive Norris Carter said.
The Tasmanian government says around 25,000 Kiwis visited each year prior to COVID-19.
“We only expect this to increase through the introduction of the new flights, creating benefits not only for our tourism industry, but also opportunities for Tasmanians to more easily reconnect with family and friends,” Premier Peter Gutwein said.
“This inaugural flight will be the first direct flight across the Tasman to Tasmania in more than 20 years and we can’t wait to welcome our first visitors.”
The twice-weekly service has the capacity to fly 17,000 New Zealanders to Tasmania, and vice versa, dramatically upping tourism in Australia’s smallest state.
Return flights will take place on Thursdays and Sundays, departing Auckland at 9am NZST, and Hobart at 12:30pm AEST.
The flight time for the trip has been listed at four hours heading to Hobart and three and a half hours on the return leg.
Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran the airline was proud to add its 10th Australian destination.
“It’s really exciting to be launching a new route alongside reopening our other Australian ports after a year of being predominantly a domestic airline,” he said.
Prices for the inaugural flight are in line with other trans-Tasman journeys, costing $NZ615 return ($A567) as of early on Saturday afternoon.