There are high hopes the country's newest and longest domestic flight will open up the Deep South to tourists.
Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon and mayor Tim Shadbolt were on board the inaugural flight from Auckland to Invercargill last night.
Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie, who was also on board, told Mike Hosking it's going to be great for the region
"I think that this flight is going to open up us to the rest of the world, and in tourism terms, open us up to more domestic tourists and international tourists, and open us up to cargo."
Yesterday, the Government promised a $19.5 million loan from the Provincial Growth Fund to revamp the centre city.
It's part of a $165 million dollar redevelopment tipped to create more than 500 jobs during construction and a further 300 retail and hospitality jobs once completed.
Dowie says it's good Shane Jones has clearly realised the region's potential, but there's a catch.
"$20 million? They give with one hand and they're taking with the other as they are shutting down our SIT and that generates $34 million into our economy per annum."