Air New Zealand’s inaugural flight between Auckland and Taipei has taken off from Auckland International Airport.

Flight NZ77 departed shortly after midday and is expected to land in Taipei around 5.45pm local time.

Air New Zealand Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace, who is travelling on the inaugural service, says the operational launch of the airline’s new Auckland–Taipei service marks the start of a busy few months for the airline.

“We’re excited to offer our customers a direct link between New Zealand and Taipei. Demand for the three day a week service has been strong, particularly around the Chinese New Year period.”

“New Zealand already welcomes around 42,000 visitors annually from the Taiwan market and we expect this number will grow further. With a flight time of just over 11 hours, we also expect Kiwis will be keen to check out this new Asian destination.”

The airline will also operate its first scheduled service between Auckland and the US city of Chicago on 30 November and will launch two new services across the Tasman next month – between Queenstown and Brisbane, and Wellington and Brisbane.

Air New Zealand’s direct Auckland–Taipei service, operated by its Boeing 787-9 aircraft, will depart Auckland on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.