Air New Zealand has announced it would adopt new guidelines for domestic flights across New Zealand from mid-December, with all passengers required to either produce confirmation of complete vaccination or submit a negative COVID test before to their journey.
The policy will be in force “for an initial period” from 14 December 2021 through 31 March 2022 and be applicable to all passengers aged 12 and above.
Both the vaccination and the confirmation of the test must come from a New Zealand government-approved provider.
PCR tests may be conducted through free community testing facilities via a passenger’s GP; however, this must be taken within 72 hours before to departure.
Should passengers return a positive COVID test or are otherwise unable to produce the requisite documentation needed before their flight, they may transfer their ticket into flight credit, while Flexi Refund prices can be entirely reimbursed.
The airline said the new policy seeks to give a “new layer of assurance” for passengers flying around the nation throughout the busy Christmas and summer vacation seasons.
“Delta has definitely increased the stakes. What formerly kept us secure is no longer enough and we need an additional layer of security. That’s why we’re going a step further to keep our customers secure, while enabling all Kiwis to fly,” Foran said.
“For the most seamless experience, we’re asking customers to download our Air New Zealand mobile app to make it simple as possible to link their vaccination status in the government’s My Vaccine Pass with booking data, which will enable check-in.”
The airline said they got “overwhelming feedback” from staff and customers alike to implement extra health measures for post-pandemic travel.
“We’re making this modification so we can all explore our beautiful country throughout summer and fly with a peace of mind knowing everyone onboard is sitting shoulder-to-shoulder against COVID,” Foran added.
“We’re doing it to safeguard vulnerable groups, for those with impaired immune systems or who can’t be vaccinated, for the elderly in our rest homes and our small tamariki at home.
Customers will be travelling this summer for a variety of reasons, and it’s our duty to get them there. We don’t want to leave anybody behind, which is why we’re providing clients the opportunity to either be completely vaccinated or submit a negative test.”
Last week, Air New Zealand received its newest short-haul Airbus A320neo aircraft to its fleet as the carrier prepares for international travel to restart again.
The narrowbody landed at Auckland Airport late Wednesday night and is the first of two joining its fleet, the second is due to arrive next week.
“It’s excellent news, especially in the context of the problems that COVID has brought onto our business,” said Air New Zealand head pilot Captain David Morgan.
“It won’t be lying on the tarmac for long, before it’s shooting out of Auckland over the Tasman and into the Pacific Islands,” Morgan said.
“We’re beginning to ramp up now so it’s a tremendously exciting moment for the staff at Air New Zealand.”
After going from France to Canada, Los Angeles, Honolulu, the Cook Islands and finally arriving in Auckland, it is currently in preparation for service.