Air New Zealand restarts flights but conditions remain difficult
- Flights planned to resume today to all ports other than New Plymouth, Napier and Gisborne
- High winds challenging airport operations in some parts of the country. Ongoing disrupted expected
- Extra flights to get customers home sooner – 11 around New Zealand and 3 to Pacific Islands
- Supporting national emergency response and employees in affected regions
- International flexibility extended.
Air New Zealand is adding extra flights to get customers where they need to be as flights resume today across its North Island network. Challenging winds at airports remain.
Domestic and international jet operations started from mid-morning today but have been temporarily paused due to strong gusts at Auckland Airport.
Air New Zealand intends to resume turboprop operations from mid-afternoon today, however high winds may inhibit this, and the airline will keep a watching brief. Turboprop flights in and out Auckland are subject to weather considerations, and flights in and out of New Plymouth, Napier and Gisborne remain suspended due to airport closures and poor weather conditions.
Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty says 11 flights have been added to its domestic schedule to help with recovery efforts, with more to come.
"While its good news that planes are able to start flying again across the North Island, unfortunately conditions at New Plymouth, Napier and Gisborne airports mean flying isn't possible until tomorrow at the earliest.
"Our hearts go out to these affected regions who continue to be battered by Cyclone Gabrielle. We'll get services back up to connect these regions as soon as possible.
"We're ready and waiting to support the national state of emergency response and are talking to affected communities on how we can help. We're also supporting our own people who are still badly affected by the terrible weather. We will continue to monitor the situation and support wherever we can.
"Once again we thank our incredible customers for their patience and understanding as we work through the impacts of these major events."
Extra flights to get customers flying
The airline says a total of 592 flights have been impacted due to the cyclone, with around 35,000 customers disrupted across our whole network.
"Urgent work is underway to rebook customers onto other flights – with around 1,500 international customers still to be rebooked.
"Flights are very full but we're working as fast as we can to rebook these remaining customers into the next available seats, and we've been in touch with them to let them know we're pulling out all the stops to get people flying again. This includes getting all our customer teams to support the rebooking effort.
"This includes adding extra flights where possible to get our customers where they need to be as quickly as possible. We're looking at all available options, including adding larger planes, working with Star Alliance partners, converting cargo flights and adding additional services where possible. These aren't easy to stand up but they're the right thing to do."
Extra international flights and bigger planes to Fiji, Samoa and Tahiti will speed up recovery from the Pacific.
Extending international flexibility
Air New Zealand is also extending flexibility for those customers affected by cyclone disruptions up to 17 February 2023.
International customers can now change travel up to 8 March 2023 without a change fee, service fee or fare difference applying. If travel is only available in a higher cabin, the fare differential will apply. Tickets can also be put into credit towards travel within 12 months.
For those travelling domestically, flexibility applies until 22 February 2023.
Customers who booked through a travel agent or third-party online agent should contact them directly about making changes to their bookings or credit validity.
The airline's Travel Alerts page has the most up to date information on operating flights.
The airline is focused on managing these impacts for our customer and will not be able to provide specific flight details at this time.
Issued by Air New Zealand Communications.
About Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand's story started in 1940, first taking to the skies between Auckland and Sydney on a flying boat - a Short S30. Known for its warm Kiwi hospitality, today, the airline has 104 operating aircraft ranging from Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A320s to ATRs and Q300s, offering customers comfort in the latest most efficient jets and turboprops. It's a modern fuel-efficient fleet with an average age of 7.3 years. Air New Zealand's global network of passenger and cargo services centres around New Zealand. Pre-Covid, the airline flew more than 17 million passengers every year, with 3,400 flights per week. Air New Zealand was recently named the World's Safest Airline by the Australian rating service AirlineRatings.com, highlighting the airline's laser-focus on safety. Last year, Air New Zealand won Best Corporate Reputation in New Zealand – 8th year in a row.
Air New Zealand has a well-connected domestic business, connecting customers and cargo to 20 different regions around New Zealand. Internationally, the airline has direct flights to major cities across Australia, Asia, the Pacific Islands and the US, and through its strong relationships with alliance partners, offers customers more choice and convenience to connect further afield to hundreds of destinations. Air New Zealand has a particular focus on sustainability and its Sustainability Framework helps guide the airline's efforts in tackling some of New Zealand's and the world's most complex challenges. Air New Zealand aircraft are proudly identified by its distinct tail livery of the Mangōpare, the Māori symbol of the hammerhead shark which represents strength, tenacity, and resilience.
About Star Alliance
Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 18,500 daily flights to 1,321 airports in 193 countries.