Air New Zealand has added one extra flight per day for the next six days between Timaru and Wellington in response to severe flooding in the Canterbury region.
On Monday, a state of emergency was declared and hundreds of people had to evacuate or abandon their homes.
Air New Zealand said seat-only fares for the new flights between the two destinations were being offered at $100.
“We appreciate how difficult it’s been for parts of Canterbury and our customers in the flood-affected areas,” said the airline’s CEO, Greg Foran.
“That’s why we are offering them fare flexibility to get to their destinations, including over the holiday weekend. We have also offered to carry essential supplies or emergency personnel helping with the flood response.”
Earlier, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern surveyed the damage to the region by air.
“It is quite devastating, there is a lot of work to do. A big clean up job lies ahead of us,” she said.
“You could see winter feed had been affected, you could see how for some farmers they’ll be completely cut off from accessing winter feed, you could see damage to fencing and of course the impact on transport links.
“We could see just from the air a lot of broken trees, shingles all through properties that will need to be cleared alongside fencing damage.”
Customers booked to travel to and from Christchurch or Timaru up to and including Tuesday, 8 June 2021 may fly in or out of another port in the South Island on or before Sunday, 13 June 2021.
Customers wishing to make changes to their booking should call Air New Zealand’s Contact Centre on 0800 737 000 or contact the airline via its social media channels to have the fare difference and fees waived.
Last year, Australian Aviation reported how Air New Zealand customers donated nearly 250,000 frequent flyer points to three charities, which were able to redeem them on essential services such as food, heating and petrol.
Air New Zealand general manager loyalty Kate O’Brien said she was blown away by the generosity of customers helping people struggling through COVID.