Air New Zealand to restart Auckland-Tokyo route on June 25

Air New Zealand will restart its Auckland-Tokyo route on June 25.
Japan's beloved Mt Fuji in autumn. Photo credit: Getty

Air New Zealand has announced it will resume direct flights between Auckland and Tokyo on June 25.

The route has been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic since March 30.

Upon resuming, Air NZ will operate one return service per week between Auckland Airport and Narita International Airport.

However, the Japanese government is still enforcing a strict travel ban on foreigners trying to enter the country.

Despite Aotearoa becoming officially COVID-19 free this week, Japan hasn't changed its visa restriction rules which currently block New Zealanders from entering.

That may soon change, according to the Japanese foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi, who last week said he and Winston Peters had shared a 15 minute phonecall about easing travel restrictions between the two countries.

Before the pandemic devastated the international air travel market, Air NZ operated up to 10 services per week on the Auckland-Narita route.

The airline's general manager of networks Scott Carr said it was pleased to welcome passengers back onto direct flights to Japan, but acknowledged that rebuilding the full international network will take "considerable time".

Earlier this week, Air NZ said in an update to the market it expects to be profitable again by August 2022.