An Air New Zealand 777-300ER is now flying a specialist team of five engineers from Frankfurt to Auckland, via Vancouver, to fix burst pipes under the Mt Albert.
The journey is the return leg of a flight chartered by the German government to repatriate citizens and shows how countries are becoming increasingly inventive in taking advantage of the reduced schedule caused by the coronavirus crisis.
After being quarantined in Auckland for 14 days, the engineers will then be relocated to Wellington to begin the work, described as the largest of its type ever conducted in Australasia.
Wellington Water charted ANZ flight NZ6011 to transport the specialists to conduct urgent repair work on two of the capital city’s wastewater pipelines.
Because the bursts occurred deep beneath Mount Albert, a specialist engineering firm in Germany was needed to design and manufacture polyester sleeves specifically for the pipes.
Wellington Water’s manager of major projects, Stephen Wright, said, “We have prepared travel logistics and a full isolation program to ensure the technicians present a very low risk to New Zealanders, and themselves remain safe from the virus.
“This program includes pre-flight screening, in-flight and transit physical distancing, self-contained transport and accommodation, and comprehensive site procedures. Upon arrival, the team will be quarantined in Auckland for 14 days and will then relocate to Wellington to begin work.”
Australian Aviation has previously reported on ANZ’s German repatriation, which began with a 777-300 departing Auckland on 3 April bound for Frankfurt via Vancouver.
Four pilots and 12 cabin crew operated the Auckland-Vancouver leg, before a full replacement crew finished the journey, which landed early morning the following day.
On Wednesday, Air New Zealand announced it would extend its reduced international schedule through to 30 June.
Previously, the airline hoped to increase services from 1 June, but has pushed back its limited network due to government travel restrictions and low demand caused by coronavirus.
Overall, Air New Zealand has reduced international capacity by 95 per cent from pre-COVID-19 levels, and domestic by 95 per cent.