More than 30 transtasman flights cancelled

Airlines have cancelled more than 30 flights between New Zealand and Australia amid growing concerns about the latest outbreak of Covid-19.

Direct flights on Air New Zealand from Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown to Sydney have all been cancelled.

The cancellations on Air New Zealand will affect 28 flights in total.

The airline will continue to run flights from Auckland to Sydney over the period of the suspension.

Air New Zealand has warned that customers who have been in New South Wales since the beginning of the travel bubble pause are not eligible for quarantine-free travel from any Australian port.

In addition to Air New Zealand’s cancellations, Jetstar has also cancelled all its flights between Sydney and Auckland for today and tomorrow.

“We’ll continue to monitor the situation and update customers if there’s any further changes to our schedule in the coming days,” a Jetstar spokesperson said.

Travellers on both Air New Zealand and Jetstar are being offered credits to fly at a later date.

This comes after the announcement from the Government yesterday that the transtasman travel bubble between New Zealand and New South Wales would be suspended for 72 hours.

Air New Zealand chief operational integrity and safety officer captain David Morgan said that customers booked to travel on cancelled services will be redirected to Auckland.

“Our customer team is contacting impacted customers and we are providing customers the option to rebook, put their flight into credit, or receive a refund if they purchased a refundable ticket,” Morgan said.

“From an operational perspective, we have been here before with pauses in quarantine-free travel with Australia over the past few months, and our teams are working hard behind the scenes to ensure our customers are kept up to date.”

The Ministry of Health’s director of public health Dr Caroline McElnay said the situation would be monitored for further developments.

The local concern has escalated further with the confirmation that a man infected with the highly infectious Delta strain of Covid-19 spent two and half days in Wellington doing “tourist things” before returning home to Sydney and testing positive.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the man had received one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and his partner, who he travelled with, is awaiting her Covid-19 test results.

Cabinet is currently meeting to discuss a potential alert level change ahead of today’s Covid-19 update from health officials on the scramble to track down contacts of an Australian man infected with the virus who visited Wellington.

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