Air New Zealand will operate 90 per cent of its pre-COVID-19 domestic schedule for the upcoming school holidays, and even run more services to Queenstown than last year.
The announcement comes after an earlier increase in capacity for the July 2020 break saw a record number of Kiwis fly with the airline.
“We’ve added capacity to the majority of our routes in the two-week holiday period,” said Air New Zealand general manager Scott Carr. “We’re operating 1,000 extra one-way flights these school holidays compared with the July break.
“We are also offering even more capacity over the school holidays on our Queenstown routes when compared with the same time last year and the July school holidays, with more than 73,000 seats available in and out of the resort town.
“Overall capacity to and from Queenstown will operate at 125 per cent during the holidays compared to the same school holiday period last year.
“They will be giving a boost to local tourism operators, accommodation providers and rental car companies, and Air New Zealand is proud to be a part of that.”
More generally, Air New Zealand has only just resumed operating the majority of its domestic network after a resurgence of COVID-19 in August.
When restrictions were lifted for the second time, the airline launched a flash sale to fill previously unoccupied middle seats suddenly made available again for booking, with 70,000 snapped up in just six hours.
Passengers are, however, still being asked to wear masks on all flights.
On Monday, Australian Aviation reported comments by Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran arguing that countries must learn to live with COVID-19 because it can’t be eradicated.
“Elimination, which is a worthy thing to go after, is probably not sustainable based on what we’re now learning, which is the vaccine is not going to be 100 per cent effective, not everybody is going to take it, and it’s going to take years to get distributed,” he said.
“In America, they’ve recently done a survey and only half the people said they’ll take the vaccine. And then, of course, we have reinfection rates.”