The first of a series of repatriation flights bound for Apia, the Samoan capital, has departed Auckland as Air New Zealand works with the national government to repatriate citizens stranded abroad.
The Airbus A321A aircraft departed Auckland at 9:05am today and is due to arrive in Apia at 1:40pm local time. Repatriation flights between the two countries are expected to operate on a once fortnightly basis.
In accordance with some of the strictest COVID-19 restrictions in the world, all passengers will need to take a test three days before travel, and to carry proof of a negative result.
On arrival in Samoa, all passengers will be required to enter a 14-day quarantine at locations nominated by the Samoan government.
Air New Zealand’s country manager for Samoa, Karen Gatt, said the airline is very happy to be supporting the government of Samoa with the safe return of Samoan residents to their homeland.
“There are a large number of people currently in New Zealand who would like to return to Samoa. Because of COVID-19 and the resulting travel bans, for many of them there has been a substantial wait to be able to return to Samoa. Air New Zealand is in the process of making contact with those customers and looks forward to assisting the Samoan government with facilitating their repatriation.”