Wellington International Airport is talking to international airlines about developing new routes from the capital city.
But the airport runway needs to be extended before any new deals can be signed off.
Airport spokesperson Greg Thomas says it could take up to seven years before the runway is extended, but it's needed in order to attract more long-haul airlines.
He says the runway needs to be extended to ensure it's possible to have runway services with full passenger loads.
Mr Thomas says the likely destinations would be an Asian hub with onward connections to Europe.
He says a further study on the economic impact and benefits a longer runway would bring has been commissioned and a full business case will be presented and consulted on next year.
Meanwhile, the airport company made a profit of $1.8 million in the six months to the end of September, a turn around from the $5.5 million loss reported for the period a year ago.
The company also plans to spend $250 million over the next five years, extending its terminal, building a new hotel and insulation to protect surrounding residents from airport noise.
Wellington City Council owns one third of the airport, with Infratil owning the rest.