Air NZ to trial direct service between Auckland and Invercargill

Air New Zealand has announced it will begin trialling direct flights between Auckland and Invercargill next year.

The service, which will be operated on an Airbus A320, will fly five days a week.

Flights will depart Invercargill at 6am and arrive in Auckland at 7:55am. The return flight will depart Auckland at 7:35pm.

The flight will take two hours, making it the longest domestic flight in New Zealand; but it will be much faster than current services between Auckland and Invercargill, which go via Christchurch.

Air New Zealand head of regional affairs Reuben Levermore says the trial comes after strong interest from Southland locals.

"The Southland community has told us a direct Invercargill-Auckland service is important and we've been working closely with stakeholders to achieve this," he says.

"The challenge will be for the community to support the trial of a direct service to ensure it's sustainable, and we're confident they'll do so."

An exact start date will be announced when tickets for the new service go on sale in January.