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Air New Zealand boosts domestic schedule amid alert level changes

written by Isabella Richards | August 31, 2021
An Air New Zealand A321-271NX, ZK-NNG, shot by Victor Pody
An Air New Zealand A321-271NX, ZK-NNG, shot by Victor Pody

Air New Zealand has announced a boost to its domestic schedule in response to the most recent changes in ‘alert level’ lockdown rules.

The changes will see several services a week added between Christchurch and Dunedin, while the flight time between Wellington-Christchurch has been moved to allow for better connectivity.

It comes as all states in the country – aside from Auckland and Northland – prepare to downgrade to alert level 3 from 11:59pm on Wednesday night in response to decreasing COVID cases.

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The Auckland-based carrier’s chief executive, Greg Foran, said its increased domestic flights will help transport cargo and essential workers around Aotearoa.

“While we can’t fly as often as we’d like, we’re doing everything we can to get people safely to where they need to go,” he said.

The changes include:

  • Between 1 and 3 September, there will be two return services for Auckland-Christchurch and Christchurch-Wellington;
  • For flights from Auckland-Wellington, Christchurch-Dunedin, and Nelson-Wellington, Air New Zealand will operate one return service;
  • From 4 to 5 September, one return service will be operated for all routes, and from 6 September, one return service will operate from Auckland-Wellington, Dunedin-Christchurch and Wellington-Nelson; and
  • The routes on 6 September operating two return services are Auckland-Christchurch and Wellington-Christchurch.

In the press conference today when the ease of restrictions was announced, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said citizens should “hold that thought”, before celebrating.

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“Every day for me is, another step, a bit of progress, but [it’s] too early,” she said. “I want to see sustained reductions over a period of time and I think actually most people want to see that.”

Auckland will remain in alert level 4 lockdown for at least two more weeks as most cases have emerged from the city, and the decision will be reviewed on 13 September.

Northland, meanwhile, will move to alert level 3 at 11:59pm on Thursday as long as wastewater tests and tests of close contacts in the district come back clear.

The news comes only a week after Air New Zealand announced it would reduce its domestic schedule again during alert level 4 lockdown.

Under the step down of alert levels, the food and beverage service, lounges, fast bag and valet parking with Air New Zealand remain closed, and masks are still mandatory.

Foran added the airline is extending its flexibility policy for domestic travel to 31 October to provide customers with assurance who have made travel plans in coming weeks.

“This means, in addition to allowing a waiver of the change fee, customers can place their booking in credit if their travel plans have changed,” he said.

The updated domestic schedule is below:

Date Route Services per day
1 – 3 September Auckland – Christchurch

Christchurch – Wellington

 

2 x return services
Auckland – Wellington

Christchurch – Dunedin

Nelson – Wellington

 

1x return service
4 – 5 September Auckland – Christchurch

Auckland – Wellington

Dunedin – Christchurch

Auckland – Wellington

Dunedin – Christchurch

Wellington – Nelson

Wellington – Christchurch

 

1x return service
6 September Auckland – Wellington

Dunedin – Christchurch

Wellington – Nelson

 

1x return service
6 September Auckland – Christchurch

Wellington – Christchurch

2 x return services

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