Air New Zealand crew overnight in Hawaii to stop COVID leakage

written by Adam Thorn | January 6, 2021
An Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)
An Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)

Air New Zealand crew flying to LA and San Francisco will now overnight in Hawaii in a bid to reduce COVID infection.

The move comes amid rising cases worldwide and concerns that airline employees could inadvertently bring the virus into New Zealand, which has virtually eliminated the pandemic.

Chief executive Greg Foran said his teams worked “through the holiday break” to make the change happen.

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“While it’s important to keep trade routes open and passenger services operating for our customers, looking after our people is our first priority,” said Foran.

Currently, Air New Zealand flies direct from Auckland to LA and San Francisco in its 787-9 Dreamliners, with staff staying overnight and then returning home

Under the new system, a brief Honolulu stopover would be introduced so that the existing crew can be replaced. This new crew will then complete the return leg to LA or San Francisco, before yet another crew boards at Honolulu to continue back to New Zealand.

Customers will be barred from leaving the aircraft at the stopover.

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Hawaii has been the best-performing state in the US for COVID cases, with the CDC website revealing there were just 9.5 cases per 100,000 in the state in the last week, compared to 95.8 in California.

Air New Zealand currently operates eight cargo and two passenger services per week between New Zealand and Los Angeles in addition to four cargo services between New Zealand and San Francisco and one cargo service from Australia to a variable destination North America.

The change comes weeks after NSW and Victoria introduced tougher quarantine rules for international crews landing in Australia.

Crews from Qantas repatriation flights are now required to take a COVID test before being allowed to isolate at home, while those from non-Australian airlines will have to stay in two police-supervised hotels.

It follows NSW Police fining 13 crew members $1,000 each for allegedly visiting local businesses.

The new Qantas rules allow the crew to immediately transfer to another domestic flight if they need to reach their own state before quarantine.

Meanwhile, international crews are now subjected to similar restrictions to passengers, who have to quarantine in a supervised hotel or accommodation for 14 days.

NSW has so far designated two facilities and Victoria followed by designating three. Typically, arrivals spend no more than 72 hours in a city before catching a flight out of Australia.

The old rules allowed airline employees to self-isolate at a designated location approved by the airline, so long as details were also shared with authorities. Crews could catch a taxi to their accommodation, providing they sat in the back and wore a mask.

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3 Comments

  • Al

    says:

    This statement suggest that’s crew can travel on any flight, which is not correct.

    “ The new Qantas rules allow the crew to immediately transfer to another domestic flight if they need to reach their own state before quarantine.”

    Qantas crews can only travel on ferry flight or by car.

    NSW Health policy states: “lAirlines must arrange appropriate transport for international flight crew by private car or in a plane that does not contain passengers. Commercial transport services (such as public transport or commercial airlines) must not be used.”

  • John

    says:

    Staging through Honolulu was supposed to commence today but has been rolled due to bureaucratic delays on the part of the US authorities.

  • falaya

    says:

    Thanks for sharing this its very good idea or info.

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