Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility.
Air New Zealand has agreed to put a temporary hold on new bookings in the short term, as well as looking at aligning daily arrivals with the capacity available at managed isolation facilities.
People who have already booked flights with Air New Zealand will still be able to enter New Zealand subject to availability of quarantine space.
“We currently have nearly 6,000 people in our 28 managed isolation facilities, and are scaling up more spaces all the time, but we need to do so safely and new facilities need to be watertight before they are opened,” Air Commodore Darryn Webb said.
“Standing up new capacity at the required levels for people to stay in for 14 days of isolation is a hugely complex undertaking; it needs appropriate levels of health and other services nearby, New Zealand Defence Force personnel and extra security to ensure that people are looked after properly and the risk of COVID getting out into the community is minimised.
“These temporary measures will ease the current demand on facilities while additional supply is brought on line. In the past three weeks we have brought on capacity of ten new facilities for 2,000 more people, and have a plan to bring on another 750 places in the coming weeks.
“The pause on new bookings will be short-term, and allows us to increase supply to match forecasted demand over the coming weeks.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and working with Air New Zealand to smooth demand and ensure returnees can be safely housed in managed isolation facilities,” Darryn Webb said.