Pacific Blue plans to expand its New Zealand domestic network with the addition of a weekend Auckland-Queenstown service from 19 September.

These will be once-daily flights on Saturday and Sundays, and the Virgin Blue subsidiary says that it builds on the twice-weekly international flights from Queenstown to Sydney that will begin in the first week of September.

"It's a considerable investment to set up at any new airport, so once we made the decision to begin international flights to Queenstown we also looked at options for a domestic service," says Adrian Hamilton-Manns, Pacific Blue's general manager commercial.

"We know Aucklanders enjoy visiting the stunning Queenstown Lakes District and we believe the weekend domestic direct flights, which will start just in time for some spring skiing, will be well supported."

Queenstown is the airline's fifth domestic destination in New Zealand, and it will operate one of its Boeing 737-800s on the route. It will compete on the route against Air New Zealand, which has 22 weekly services, and the seven weekly services offered by Qantas subsidiary Jetstar.

Pacific Blue has been flying between New Zealand's three main cities, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, since November 2007 and added domestic Dunedin services in July 2008.

It will commence a range of new routes in September, including direct international flights from Hamilton to Sydney and Brisbane in Australia, flights from Dunedin to Brisbane, and a new service from Wellington to Sydney.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news