Carry on: Bigger aircraft bring major changes to Air NZ regional routes

How your region is affected by upgraded planes and more or fewer flights.

Air New Zealand has released details of its revamped regional routes, where larger aircraft have reduced flights to some centres while increasing them to others.

The biggest boosts have come on the Auckland-Dunedin and Wellington-Queenstown nonstop routes using Airbus A320s. Most of the changes involve upgrades from Dash8-Q300 to ATR72 aircraft, and from soon-to-be-retired Beechcraft 1900 to Dash8-Q300.

Some routes, such as Wellington-Rotorua, Rotorua-Christchurch and Christchurch-Invercargill get earlier departures.

Air New Zealand says the new domestic operation will improve connectivity across its network, offering schedule consistency and greater flight options.

“A number of markets will see noticeable schedule changes to tailor local demands and extend the business days while aircraft up-gauge will allow the airline provided expanded year-on-year capacity growth, where selected markets see 30-70% increases,” it says.

How your region is affected
Auckland-Dunedin Increase from 14 to 17 weekly from July 3 (A320). Additional frequency will be maintained on or after October 30.

Wellington-Queenstown Increase to daily (A320) with additional three weekly ATR72 operations. This service will increase on four weekdays instead of focusing on weekends between July and October.

Wellington-Gisborne Reduction from 22 to 18 weekly from August 9. Capacity remains an overall increase with all Dash8-Q300 service as Beechcraft 1900 is phased out.

Palmerston North-Hamilton Increase from five to 11 weekly from October 29. All Dash8-Q300 service operates from August 29.

Auckland-Blenheim Increase from 27 to 30 weekly from October 30. All operated by Dash8-Q300, instead of Dash8/ATR72.


Auckland-Gisborne Increase from 27 to 33 weekly.

Auckland-Napier Increase from 61 to 66 weekly. All flights operated by ATR72 instead of ATR72/Dash8-Q300. Up to 10 daily flights from Wednesday to Friday.

Auckland-Nelson Reduction from 62 to 60 weekly. Most operated by ATR72, resulting in a capacity increase. Nine daily flights on weekdays.

Auckland-New Plymouth Reduction from 49 to 48 weekly. Up to 10 daily flights Wednesday through Friday.


Auckland-Palmerston North Increase to 59 weekly from 54. All operated by ATR72 instead of ATR72/Dash8-Q300, resulting in a capacity increase. Up to nine daily flights Wednesday through Friday.


Auckland-Rotorua Increase from 20 to 22 weekly, additional flights added on Thursdays and Fridays
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Auckland-Tauranga Increase from 38 to 43 weekly, up to seven daily flights Wednesdays-Fridays by Dash8-Q300, resulting in a capacity increase.


Christchurch-Dunedin Reduction from 52 weekly to 47 weekly with all-ATR72 schedule on weekdays


Christchurch-Hamilton Increase from 19 to 24 weekly. Up to four daily flights with ATR72 on weekdays (except Tuesdays).


Christchurch-Invercargill Reduction to 43 weekly from 49 with all-ATR72 service. Up to seven daily flights on weekdays (except Mondays). The first flight from Christchurch will be at 6am rather than 8am.

Christchurch-Rotorua Increase from 15 to 20 weekly. Morning departure from Rotorua will move from 9am to 7am.

Christchurch-Tauranga Increase from 14 to 19 weekly. All operated by Dash8-Q300 instead of ATR72/Dash8-Q300. Three daily flights on weekdays.


Christchurch-Wellington Increase from 96 to 134 weekly. Up to 21 daily flights, an increase from minimum 14 daily in average. Peak prime time hours operated by A320, with ATR72 on other flights.


Wellington-Blenheim Increase from 27 to 32 weekly.

Wellington-Dunedin Airbus A320 operation increases from eight to 14 weekly. Turboprop operation reduces from 22 weekly Dash8-Q300/ATR72 flights to14 weekly all-ATR72.

Wellington-Hamilton Up to six daily flights on weekdays. ATR72 operates during prime-time hours while Dash8-Q300 operates during off-peak hours.

Wellington-Rotorua Reduced to 19 weekly instead of 23. All-Dash8Q-300 schedule includes earlier morning Wellington departure and later from Rotorua.

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