The Board of Airlines Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ) is asking passengers to be patient as several airlines work through their response to new Covid-19 border measures put in place today.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the measures this afternoon in Auckland, including a new provision that most people entering New Zealand, as of 11:59pm tomorrow night (Sunday) will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
BARNZ said in a statement that its 28 airline members are now scrambling to meet the new travel conditions.
“Airlines are expecting a flurry of cancellations from passengers and expect to consolidate flights as passenger numbers reduce,” BARNZ executive director Justin Tighe-Umbers said.
“We are asking all passengers to please be patient while airlines manage the enormous logistics around the new situation.
“Airlines know they have a duty of care to get passengers home.
“They are used to major disruptive events, but the crisis around COVID-19 is unprecedented.
“This evolving situation will require patience from everyone.”
Airline crew are exempt from the 14-day rule, but are required to be isolated to their accommodation while waiting to operate their return flights out of the country.
Mr Tighe-Umbers said that BARNZ was grateful that the government had acknowledged the severe impact the new restrictions will have on travel, and the aviation sector particularly.
“BARNZ has already been working with the Government on the impact to airlines and has been calling for financial assistance as soon as possible.
“It will be vital for the recovery of the tourism industry to ensure airline links are both maintain and restored as soon as the threat of COVID-19 is dissipated.”
Air New Zealand earlier released a statement asking passengers to also be patient, as they are experiencing an unprecedented number of customer enquiries.
They asked that only people whose flights are due to leave within 72 hours contact them.