Queenstown Airport is to introduce night flights after a two-year investigation to prove the safety case.
The Civil Aviation Authority has approved the proposal, which will require pilots to use satellite technology to fly in darkness through the Southern Alps.
The airport will need to widen its runway and install special lights on the mountains surrounding Queenstown.
But airport chief executive Scott Paterson said being able to fly in and out of Queenstown after dark was a game changer.
Currently in winter, planes have to take off by 5.30pm.
Mr Paterson said that did not work for skiers who wanted to return to Australia after a full day on the slopes.
"It aligns very clearly with the Tourism Industry Association goals of improving connectivity for New Zealand with the rest of the world. Currently you can get to one of the long haul hubs late in the evening but you can't get to Queenstown."
The cost of the plan will be $10 million. Airlines are now considering it.