The Samoan government has turned to Air New Zealand to repatriate its citizens in Australia with both Qantas and Virgin no longer operating international flights.
On Friday, the Air New Zealand 787-9, ZK-NZK msn 43217, departed Sydney at 7am and is due to land at Faleolo Airport near Apia at 8:24pm.
The Boeing aircraft carried around 300 Samoan nationals, who all had to return a negative COVID-19 test before entering a 14-day quarantine at a government location.
Air New Zealand’s Samoa country manager, Karen Gatt, said, “Air New Zealand has repatriated more than 2,000 Samoan nationals and residents from New Zealand since May and we are proud to help bring Samoan nationals and residents home during these uncertain times.
“We look forward to continuing to support the Samoan government with repatriating their citizens in the future.”
Last week, Australian Aviation reported how the Kiwi flag carrier 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.”