In a historic day for our State, today we greeted passengers on the inaugural trans-Tasman flight between Auckland and Hobart with a warm Tasmanian welcome.
The first direct flight between the two islands in just over two decades arrived shortly before 11.00am following a four-hour flight.
More than one hundred passengers disembarked at Hobart International Airport before going through customs and border control.
Also on board the flight was the Chief Operating Officer of Air New Zealand, Carrie Hurihanganui, New Zealand travel trade representatives and travel media.
It was an honour to be part of this slice of history and to thank Air New Zealand for its confidence in our State.
Air New Zealand is a global brand, with a great reputation and strong customer base who I know will deliver a high-quality service for Tasmania.
It started its Tasmanian service with a bang, with its iconic black A321 aircraft used for the inaugural flight.
This direct service was secured after the Tasmanian Government committed $10 million towards terminal upgrades and worked to progress a business plan in partnership with Hobart International Airport.
As part of the Agreement, we have committed to underwrite the flights with the objective of the service becoming sustainable after an initial two years of operation.
I want to thank the Australian Government who has worked with us and has stood up the necessary border force arrangements and provided considerable funding support through the Hobart City Deal.
Special mention must also go to the team at the Hobart International Airport for working closely with the Australian Government to ensure all the necessary arrangements were ready in time to process international visitors safely today.
When it comes to ensuring we’re firmly in the minds of New Zealanders, Tourism Tasmania is spending $1.4 million as well as partnering with Air New Zealand on a range of initiatives to drive increased demand.
Tasmania welcomed 20,000 visitors each year from New Zealand prior to COVID-19 so we only expect this to increase with travellers able to hop on just one flight and get here direct.
Tassie has some of the best tourism experiences in the world, and I’m sure New Zealanders will love what we have to offer, while at the same time supporting our tourism operators who have done it tough over the past year.
The new direct flight also presents a great opportunity for trade including fresh freight products and to strengthen other business ties between Tasmania and New Zealand.
The direct service will initially operate on Thursdays and Sundays to make the most of domestic connectivity and provide the best long weekend options for travellers before increasing to three flights as demand increases, particularly through the high season.
Already, Air New Zealand is reporting strong demand and we look forward to this continuing and growing over the next few years.