Aviation

Air New Zealand to operate quarantine flights amid trans-Tasman travel bubble’s extended pause

Air New Zealand will be operating a limited number of quarantine flights between Australia and NZ, following the Kiwi government’s decision to extend the pause of the trans-Tasman travel bubble.

The move to pause quarantine-free travel across the Tasman for a further eight weeks is due to the current COVID-19 outbreaks of the Delta variant in both countries, along with the ongoing uncertainty around the length of the Australian government’s pause.

Air NZ has cancelled quarantine-free services between 25 September and 30 November, with customers to receive a cancellation email and be given a credit for their flight.

The Australian government has provided Air NZ with a limited number of managed isolation spaces, meaning the airline can now operate a handful of quarantine flights to help get people back to Australia.

The quarantine flights from NZ to Australia are available to book from today. Once customers have booked their flight, they will automatically receive a managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) room allocation. However, the cost of mandatory isolation is not included in the flight booking.

Flights are available for customers to book via the Air NZ website only, with the airline warning not to contact its call centre, and that there will be no waitlist.

For Kiwis wanting to return home from Australia, the airline will be operating quarantine flights for customers who secure an MIQ space made available by the NZ government.

The airline’s quarantine flights from Australia to NZ are now available to book, with Air NZ urging customers to align their MIQ booking with a day that matches the carrier’s new schedule. Customers will have 48 hours to book their flights following securing an MIQ room.

All flights to NZ will be available for customers to book via the Air NZ website or via a travel agent. Again, the airline has asked customers not to contact its call centre.

Air NZ’s chief customer and sales officer, Leanne Geraghty, said the airline will continue to operate quarantine flights so long as there are MIQ spaces available in either Australia and/or NZ.

“We understand this continues to be a very distressing time for people trying to get home,” she said.

“We’re committed to doing everything we can to get customers back to where they need to be as safely and quickly as possible.

“Our teams have worked tirelessly to get these flights up and running so we can reconnect customers with their loved ones.

“Should we receive additional allocations, these will be made available for customers to book online only, and we recommend that customers continue to check our website for updates.”

Once the quarantine flight schedule is confirmed, it will be available to view on Air NZ’s ‘travel alerts’ page.

The airline recently flagged that the monthly impact of the tans-Tasman travel suspension is approximately NZ$20 million to NZ$25 million ($19.4 million to $24.3 million).


Featured image source: iStock/ai_yoshi


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