Air New Zealand has increased its schedule, reopened some airport lounges, and resumed valet services as the country enters Alert Level 2 restrictions in response to a reduction in the current COVID-19 outbreak.
Under the new restrictions, which took effect last Tuesday, all regions except Auckland will be able to return to school, offices, and businesses, and regional travel will be resumed.
“It’s encouraging to see the rest of NZ move to Alert Level 2,” said Air New Zealand chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty.
“Our customers can expect to see our lounges in Wellington, Christchurch, and the regions reopen; and valet services resume in Christchurch.”
She said that in line with the government announcements, the lounges will operate at a capacity limit of 50 people.
“We’re looking forward to giving customers across New Zealand a warm Air New Zealand welcome soon,” Geraghty said.
New Zealand reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 per day between Saturday and Monday, far below the peak of 83 on August 29.
Although Auckland, the epicentre of the outbreak, will remain under Alert Level 4, Air New Zealand has increased its flight schedule to accommodate the relaxation of restrictions elsewhere in the country.
Routes such as Wellington-Nelson will have 36 weekly return services, while Christchurch-Nelson will have 28 weekly return services. Previously, as travel remained largely restricted, Air New Zealand was forced to reduce services to two per week.
Food and beverage services will remain suspended, and masks will continue to be required in flight to reduce the risk of transmission.
“While the country has been under Alert Level 3 and 4 for the past few weeks, it may take a few days to return to our full lounge service offering, but we’ll be working with suppliers to ensure this is as seamless as possible,” said Geraghty.
For those living in Auckland or those wishing not to travel, Air New Zealand has maintained its flexibility policy extension to 31 October.
“This means, in addition to allowing a waiver of the change fee, customers can place their booking in credit if their travel plans have changed,” said the press release.
At a press conference on Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the relaxation of restrictions, but she remains committed to the elimination strategy.
The strategy will keep just under 1.7 million Auckland residents in lockdown until the rate of new cases decreases.
Source: Australian Aviation
By Joe Cusmano