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Trans-Tasman uncertainty forces 1000 Air New Zealand flight cancellations

Air New Zealand has announced the cancellation of more than 1000 flights through to 31 December 2021, due to continued border uncertainty between Australia and New Zealand.

Air New Zealand has announced the cancellation of more than 1000 flights through to 31 December 2021, due to continued border uncertainty between Australia and New Zealand.

“Now, due to recent statements by the New Zealand Government that quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand is unlikely to re-commence this year, we’ve had to make the difficult decision to change our schedule,” says Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty.

“This will be particularly tough news for families and friends who were hoping to catch up over Christmas. I appreciate how difficult this news will be, but our hands are tied until border restrictions ease, and we receive further clarity from the New Zealand Government.”

The airline estimates around 1000 flights will need to be cancelled, with around 20,000 customers expected to be impacted.

Leanne-Geraghty
Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty

“Customers have already begun moving their bookings into credit and we’re acting now to give customers as much certainty as possible, so they can make alternative plans.

“We appreciate this latest news means some customers will have to wait longer before reuniting with loved ones. We’re continuing to do everything we can to get them home safely as quickly as possible.”

When will New Zealand reopen to Australia and beyond?

Reopening New Zealand’s international border is reportedly next on Jacinda Ardern’s COVID to-do list after announcing a December 15 end to the “Auckland prison”.

Auckland has been in lockdown since August 17 – 93 days ago – as the country grapples with a Delta outbreak, reportedly imported from New South Wales.

With the big internal decisions out of the way, the last major call is when NZ will open up to the world.

A government spokesman told AAP that decision would be made in the next fortnight.

Lockdown Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand

As such, Air New Zealand says its schedule beyond 31 December remains in place until it receives an update from the New Zealand Government.

The airline will continue to operate a reduced schedule of flights into Sydney and Melbourne and ‘red fights’ from Australia into New Zealand for those with MIQ spots.

Impacted customers can opt to hold their fare in credit for travel at another date or receive a refund if they have purchased a refundable ticket.