Air New Zealand has placed a hold on international bookings (picture courtesy Unspalsh/Douglas Bagg).
Air New Zealand has put a temporary hold on new bookings for international flights into the country.
The move was made following a request from the New Zealand government to reduce the burden on overflowing quarantine facilities as increasing numbers of New Zealanders return home.
The hold on bookings will last for three weeks from July 7 and the airline is also looking at aligning daily arrivals with the quarantine capacity available. This may mean that some passengers will be moved to an alternative flight.
All New Zealand citizens and residents returning to the country are required to quarantine in managed isolation facilities for 14 days on entry. The country currently has around 6,000 travellers in 28 locations, although the government says it is planning to increase space to manage demand in coming weeks.
“We accept that this is a necessary short-term measure given the limited capacity in quarantine facilities,” said Air New Zealand’s chief commercial and customer officer, Cam Wallace. “We’re keen to do what we can to help New Zealand’s continued success in its fight against COVID-19.”
The airline said it is contacting customers and that the Air New Zealand contact centre is currently experiencing “very high” demand. Passengers are also recommended to reach out to the airline via its social media channels. Customers booked through a third-party website or travel agent should speak directly to their agent.
Outbound Air New Zealand services and domestic services are not affected.
New Zealand has so far reported 1,186 cases and 22 deaths from coronavirus. In June prime minister Jacinda Ardern declared the country to be coronavirus-free, but shortly after two British women were allowed to leave quarantine early on compassionate grounds and later tested positive for the virus.