Kiwi regional airlines have announced plans for a new Queenstown regional air service offering a return seven day a week service between Dunedin, Queenstown and Nelson. The route would be serviced by SAAB 340 34-seater aircrafts, which are twin engine, twin pilot air pressurised aircraft. The service has regulatory processes to complete and airport timetabling issues to negotiate but is aiming to be operational by the end of the year.

The aim of the service is to make regional air services to routes not currently covered by commercial services fast and affordable. Ticket prices have not been released at this time as this is commercially sensitive information.

The proposal is for flights to leave Dunedin early for Queenstown, allowing travellers to link up with international flights. It would then head to Nelson and return later in the day. It is anticipated that users would not only be travellers – professionals such as Lawyers, health workers, architects and accountants are expected to be clients.

The current drive times are from Queenstown to Dunedin 3 ½ hours and from Queenstown to Nelson 10 hours.

Other routes the new Kiwi airline intends to service include direct flights between Auckland, Hamilton, Blenheim, Palmerston North, Tauranga and the North Shore. The aim is to complement rather than compete with the existing commercial services.

Wanaka will benefit from this service. Queenstown airport is only a 50 minute drive over the picturesque Crown Range from Wanaka. This service would have appeal for travellers accessing international flights from Dunedin, business and health appointments in Dunedin and for consultants coming inbound to visit central Otago clients. The Nelson Otago route is a two day drive tackled in the summer by those heading to popular summer holidays spots and in the winter by skiers heading to our slopes.


Unfortunately the service did not survive the trials and tribulations of operating within our climate.