Air New Zealand's daily Christchurch to Wanaka return service flew into Wanaka at 11.45am to a red carpet welcome in front of local guests from around the district.

The new service makes Wanaka the 25th destination in Air New Zealand's national network and the 10th in the South Island.

The flights are being operated by Air New Zealand subsidiary Eagle Air, utilising 19 seat Beech 1900D aircraft with a flight time of around one hour.

"Flying in today was a great occasion because it marks the start of a new era for the Wanaka region," said Air New Zealand Group General Manager Marketing, Network and Sales Norm Thompson, who hosted passengers on the first flight.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Wanaka locals, regular travellers and holidaymakers to Wanaka, and we need their support to make this service an ongoing success."

From Monday to Friday the daily service departs Christchurch at 10.45am and arrives at Wanaka at 11.45am. The return journey will depart at 12.05pm and arrive at Christchurch at 1pm. The Sunday service will depart 10 minutes later both ways, and the Saturday schedule is for a 1.10pm departure from Christchurch and 2.30pm from Wanaka.

"Bookings for the new service have been solid, with the lowest $76 one way fares proving a popular alternative to driving for more than five hours between Christchurch and Wanaka," said Mr Thompson.

"As expected, the Friday service from Christchurch and the Sunday and Monday services from Wanaka are proving the most popular, with bookings for the first couple of months looking good.

"As for what the future holds we've seen what can be achieved by working closely with the Queenstown tourism community and we look forward to a similarly successful relationship with Wanaka."

Air New Zealand's domestic Express Class has seen passenger numbers on Queenstown flights increase by 21.4% in its first 12 months to more than 360,000 domestic passengers.

Air New Zealand is also introducing direct flights from Melbourne to Queenstown for the first time this winter, complementing its existing Brisbane winter service and increased Sydney services.

NOTE: The content of all Air New Zealand media releases are accurate at the time of issue, as stated at the top of each release. For updates on any changes, please contact Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award, Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1, bmi, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. Aegean Airlines, Air India, Brussels Airlines and TAM have been announced as future members. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers 19,500 daily flights to 1,071 airports in 171 countries.

For more information about Air New Zealand visit and for more information about Star Alliance visit