Singapore Airlines has announced the introduction of cargo-only flights between Auckland and Singapore which will operate five times a week.
The airline will operate an Airbus A350-900 on the route, which will provide more than 175 tonnes of cargo capacity a week to and from the New Zealand market.
The first A350-900 aircraft touched down on Sunday with 16 tonnes of cargo on board, including important medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and food manufacturing goods.
The first departing flight on Monday, carried almost 20 tonnes of cargo, including fresh fruit, chilled meat, machinery and some of New Zealand's famous wines from both the North and South Island.
As well as being the final destination for much of the cargo onboard, Singapore's position as an aviation hub means the goods can then fly on to places such as Amsterdam, China, India, Malaysia, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, the UK and the US.
The airline has established a strong connection with New Zealand and its New Zealand general manager, Kenny Teo, said Singapore Airlines was keen to work on ways to maintain its presence in New Zealand.
"The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has been felt by every sector and with New Zealand slowly coming out of lockdown, We are very proud to be able to provide much-needed cargo capacity to deliver New Zealand produce to the world," Teo said.
"Usually, this cargo would be carried in the belly-hold of one of our 26-weekly passenger services from Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington, however, due to the COVID-19 outbreak cargo capacity evaporated in March, due to the cancellation of all of our passenger service.
Airlines around the world have tried to maximise the cargo capability of their passenger aircraft, allowing them to generate revenue by operating freight services rather than passenger ones.