New Zealand Journeys, Wonderful Journeys

Latest News

Air New Zealand launches more flights in Covid-19 level 2

Source: Melanie Carroll // 18:08, May 11 2020

Air New Zealand has announced it will operate to the majority of its domestic airports when the nation enters Alert Level 2.

New Zealand's skies will become a little busier from Thursday when the country enters alert level 2 on Thursday, but air travel is still a long way from normal.

On Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand would move from level 3 at 11.59pm on Wednesday night.

At alert level 2, domestic travel will be permitted, including for tourism, although travel should not be for the purposes of attending large events or conferences.

"Regional airports who have not seen an aircraft for six weeks will suddenly see an aircraft - but it's nothing like it was pre-Covid," said aviation expert Irene King.

Air New Zealand would already know which aircraft it would use, which pilots would be flying and which flight attendants were needed from Thursday.

Air New Zealand would operate at about 20 per cent of its normal domestic capacity in level 2, compared with about 3 per cent currently.

From June 1, Air New Zealand will fly from Auckland to Blenheim, and to Dunedin, as well as Wellington to Dunedin, said Air New Zealand head of networks Scott Carr.

Flights from Christchurch to Hamilton will start from May 18, followed by flights to Hokitika (May 25), and Tauranga (June 1).

The airline's schedule for additional routes was only available up until June 7, Carr said.

Extra routes and frequencies will be reintroduced according to demand, including services to Taupō and Timaru.

Air NZ chief executive Greg Foran said last week that alert Level 2 would see the return of flying to the likes of Queenstown, Invercargill and Blenheim in the South Island and Rotorua, Gisborne, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Hamilton, Whangarei and Kerikeri in the north.

"This comes on top of current flights to support essential service travel between Auckland and Christchurch, Wellington, Tauranga and Napier, as well as between Wellington-Christchurch, Wellington-Nelson and Christchurch-Dunedin,” he said.

But he warned that even when the country leaves level 1, there would be fewer flights and reduced frequencies to all domestic destinations.

He also warned bargain-hunters that Air New Zealand would not be able to offer its normal cheapest fares at alert level 2.