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Queenstown was a "hot destination", the airline chief executive Greg Foran said.
There were 180,000 tickets released yesterday, with 160,000 available for under $50, leading to a record sales afternoon following Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing social distancing measures aboard aircraft were no longer required.
Air New Zealand said more than 110,000 were "snapped up" compared with an average 31,000 per day before Covid-19.
Mr Foran said it showed Kiwis were keen to get out and explore New Zealand.
“As soon as the Government announced the removal of physical distancing demand was strong, with 70,000 seats sold in the first six hours."
Masks were to remain mandatory when flying and crew will wear gloves.
Air New Zealand is currently flying approximately 200,000 seats per week, which is around 70-75% of pre-COVID-19 capacity.
The top destinations from Auckland were to Queenstown, Wellington and Christchurch.
Flights also sold to Invercargill, Whangarei and Kerikeri from the City of Sails.
Air New Zealand said there were also "strong demand for bookings" from Wellington and Christchurch to other domestic destinations.