Auckland-Invercargill direct flights a 'game changer' [ODT, 27/01/20]

It can be a long day trip for Southlanders travelling north, with flights leaving Invercargill at 6am and returning after 9.30pm.

Southlanders are embracing a new direct jet flight connecting them to Auckland with more than 46,000 seats already sold.

The inaugural Auckland – Invercargill flight was heralded as a game changer last August with hopes the new service would be a boon for the region.

It can be a long day trip for Southlanders travelling north, with flights leaving Invercargill at 6am and returning after 9.30pm.

But Habitat for Humanity Invercargill general manager Paul Searancke said the new two hour flights saved the charity time and money.

To attend a meeting in Auckland it previously had to fly north the afternoon before.

“We could get home late the second day so we’ve got a night away from home, the accommodation costs, food, taxi transfer, all those extra items,” Searancke said.

“Now, we can organise our days so that they’re full. We can be in Auckland ready for a meeting by 9.30 at the latest, and we can schedule multiples, have an opportunity to catch up, have a dinner, hop on the plane and be home that evening.”

Invercargill Licensing Trust marketing and sales manager Angee Shand said many hotels and motels were noticing an increase in tourists.

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