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Air New Zealand has suspended over 1000 flights between New Zealand and Australia until December 31 owing to worries about quarantine-free travel between the two countries.
The disruptions are expected to affect 20,000 passengers.
Air New Zealand’s flight schedule beyond December 31 remains unchanged until further notice.
Air New Zealand Cancels Over 1000 Australia Flights
Air New Zealand’s chief customer and sales officer, Leanne Geraghty, told local media on November 22 that the carrier had canceled flights to and from New Zealand due to “recent statements by the New Zealand Government that quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand is unlikely to resume in 2021.”
Ms. Gerathy said,
“Continued border uncertainty between NZ and Australia means Air New Zealand cancelled more than 1000 flights through to 31 December 2021,”
She expressed sympathy for the passengers who had been delayed, but noted that Air New Zealand’s options were limited.
“This will be particularly tough news for families and friends who were hoping to catch up over Christmas, but our hands are tied until border restrictions ease and we receive further clarity from the New Zealand government.”
Travelers who have already booked flights from now till December 31 will be able to request refund or reschedule once operations restart.
While Air New Zealand’s flight schedule has been dramatically reduced, the company’s flight timetables indicate that it continues to provide a limited number of routes to and from Sydney and Melbourne.
These flights, however, are only available to customers who are not subject to the COVID-19 travel limitations.
Quarantine-free travel with Australia was first implemented in July 2021, but was then suspended in September to prevent the spread of the Delta strain in New Zealand.
Restrictions were reduced on November 1st and quarantine-free movement between nations was largely resumed.
However, due to the recent increase of new infections, a fully resumed flight schedule is unlikely to take place until 2022.
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