As disrupted international customers continue to be rebooked onto alternative services, Air New Zealand is delivering more recovery flights from Japan and Samoa to bring home customers who have been stranded overseas due to recent Auckland airport disruptions.
An extra Apia, Samoa flight NZ6055 has also been scheduled for 2 February local time, providing an earlier travel option for a further 300 customers. An additional 787-9 service from Narita, Japan NZ94 departing on 6 February local time will fly 300 customers back to Aotearoa New Zealand earlier than expected.
The recovery flights are part of a wider effort from the airline to add more seats to bring disrupted customers home more quickly. They’re in addition to previously announced extra flights from Los Angeles, Niue, Fiji and the larger aircraft flown by Singapore Airlines from Singapore.
Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty says the airline’s top priority is getting disrupted customers to their final destination as quickly as possible. “We’ve pulled out all the stops to get our customers in the air. We’ve redirected Cargo flights to pick up passengers, called in favours from our Alliance partners, used larger aircraft and adjusted our schedule wherever possible to make it happen. No stone has been left unturned. Our teams have worked tirelessly to enable further capacity to be added so we can get more people from Samoa and Japan, which are two ports that remain in high demand with limited options – these extra flights will be a relief to those needing to get home.”
Air New Zealand is now contacting all disrupted customers in Japan and Samoa to advise them of the extra flights and asks customers to bear with us as the airline’s team works through the backlog. Air New Zealand also announced that nearly all 9,000 disrupted customers have been rebooked, with an estimated 300 still outstanding.
“Our focus has always been to prioritise rebooking our disrupted customers. Rebooking 8,700 customers has been a massive undertaking and one of our biggest rebookings in our history – effectively two customers rebooked every minute since late Saturday evening,” Geraghty said. “We’re continuing our work to rebook the remaining 300 customers. When this is done, we’ll be turning our focus to responding to the other outstanding queries we’ve received and supporting all our valued customers. An enormous thanks to everyone for their patience and understanding as we’ve worked through this challenging time. I’d also like to again thank our wonderful employees, Alliance and travel agent partners who have supported us and helped complete this enormous task. While we are running our schedule as planned at the domestic terminal, things are still recovering at the international terminal. We understand that this has caused inconvenience for some customers and we’re doing everything in our power to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.
“We’d like to remind customers taking an international flight with us to please bear with us when checking in,” Geraghty said. “Repairs are going well but many systems are still not yet operational. We have brought in volunteers from across the business to assist with check-in and baggage, and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work through recovering from this unprecedented event.”