Christchurch airport and Adelaide airport have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work together in securing direct air services between the two cities.
The MoU, which had been under discussions between the two airports in the past four months, will allow both parties to jointly engage and encourage airlines to start operating flights on the route.
It will create a link between the two cities in Australasia, which is one of the largest pairs of unserviced cities in the region. The MoU also has the intention of benefitting business, freight and tourism in Christchurch and Adelaide.
Christchurch airport's chief executive Jim Boult says: "The recent new open skies policy over Christchurch until mid-2017 means any carrier can consider this opportunity, depending on its own air service agreements with Australia."
He adds that the airports will provide the first airline who operate on the route a NZ$7.5 million ($6.2 million) support package, assuming that it operates a daily service. This is in addition to other assumptions, which will be discussed with the carrier.
Research shows more people would travel between the South Island and south Australia if nonstop services are offered, says Christchurch airport. This suggests that a direct daily service would have uptake and could be worth as much as NZ$30 million to the regional and South Island economies.