Air New Zealand has cancelled all turboprop services departing from Christchurch airport scheduled for Friday evening in response to the multiple shootings in the city.
The airline said in statement 17 regional flights have been cancelled because it was not possible to screen customers and their baggage. Jet-operated flights were continuing to operate as normal.
Following the tragedy in #Christchurch, the remainder of regional departures from Christchurch Friday evening have been cancelled. This is because it is not possible to screen customers and their baggage. Check here: https://t.co/rXQtFJxCe3
— Air New Zealand ✈️ (@FlyAirNZ) March 15, 2019
Christchurch was rocked on Friday afternoon when two mosques in the city were attacked by gunmen who fired on those attending lunchtime prayers. There most recent estimates suggest 40 people were killed in the two attacks, with scores more injured.
Police have arrested three men and one woman. Authorities are urging people to stay indoors.
1/6 Police continue to respond to an ongoing serious and tragic firearms incident in Christchurch.The incident remains fluid and information is still coming to hand.We can confirm that Police have been dealing with two shootings at two mosques in Christchurch…
— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) March 15, 2019
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters incident was “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.
“It is clear that this is one of New Zealand's darkest days. Clearly, what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.” New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern responds to the shooting at mosques in Christchurch that has left several people dead #TheDrum pic.twitter.com/lRdRIDIaPG
— ABC The Drum (@ABCthedrum) March 15, 2019
Customers affected by the Air New Zealand cancellations and still wanting to travel would be rebooked on the next available flight. Those who no longer wished to travel had the choice of a refund or having their fare kept in credit for up to 12 months.
“Air New Zealand apologises for the inconvenience caused. The safety of its customers and employees is paramount,” Air New Zealand said.
Further, the airline said anyone booked to fly into or out of Christchurch at any time until the end of the weekend would have the option to change and rebook any tickets, with change fees and fare difference waived should they no longer be able to travel.
“Air New Zealand has offered its support to emergency services managing the incident in Christchurch today,” the airline said.
Jetstar said in a statement on its website it was “waiving all costs and change fees for customers wanting to amend their travel plans to the city” on Friday or Saturday.
“If you are booked on a flight departing to or from Christchurch on Friday 15 March or Saturday 16 March 2019, and want to make changes to your flight, please contact us via Live Chat,” Jetstar said on its website.
Our thoughts go out to everyone in #Christchurch impacted by this terrible event. For those flying with us into or out of the city today or tomorrow, we have options available to you should you want to change your travel plans. Further details- https://t.co/XRaHmAq0Ac
— Jetstar Airways (@JetstarAirways) March 15, 2019
Christchurch Airport said the airport remained open. However, aviation security had been increased as a precaution.
Christchurch Airport continues to operate as normal. Aviation Security has increased its presence in the terminal as a precaution. We‘re caring for a number of people who are staying in the terminal while the advice from police is to stay indoors.
— Christchurch Airport (@CHC_Airport) March 15, 2019