Air New Zealand says operations up and running

(PHOTO: Via Air New Zealand)

Air New Zealand’s international and domestic network is back up and running today (15 February, the airline said in a statement. Flying into heavily impacted regions New Plymouth, Napier and Gisborne has also resumed with some minor disruptions this morning as the airline worked through operationalising the routes. Following the increased wind gusts yesterday afternoon, the airline was forced to halt its domestic and international operation out of Auckland resulting in a further 300 cancelled services.

Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty says while yesterday’s gusts set back the airline’s recovery from the initial cancellations, the network is largely operating as usual again today. “With aircraft and crew displaced around the network, our morning operations were a little bumpy. But we’re largely back in the swing of things today and are completely focused on customer recovery. We got halfway there yesterday with our restart but, as we have throughout the recent weather events, we put safety first. It’s the right thing to do – every time. To have the airline operating largely as normal today is no small feat. We had to divert nine services last night to other ports like Christchurch and Nadi, rework our schedule to allow for the planes and crew we had out of place, bring a large proportion of turboprops back out of storage and then work to rebook and look after those who have been disrupted… We’re deeply saddened by the ongoing impact of Cyclone Gabrielle on those affected regions, particularly Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay. We’re ready and waiting to support the national state of emergency response and are talking to affected communities about 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.”

Air New Zealand, in coordination with government agencies is deploying a special assistance flight, carrying communication support, emergency supplies and airport operational staff into Gisborne at midday. The aim is to assess and secure the reopening of the Gisborne airport to reconnect the region with much needed support and supplies.

On top of yesterday’s disruption, the airline has had a total of 821 cancelled flights and 49,000 impacted customers since Cyclone Gabrielle began. “We’ve again turned our focus to rebooking disrupted customers, with a focus on our 6,500 international customers impacted from yesterday’s cancellations. We’re looking at where the areas of greatest need are and will be adding services and changing to larger aircraft where possible,” Geraghty said. “This may take some time, so we once again ask customers for their patience while we work through this.”

The airline has added extra services to Nadi, Tahiti, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Apia to its international network as well as additional domestic services between Christchurch and Auckland to recover passengers that were diverted south. Extra flights to North America are also being explored.  

Air New Zealand has extended 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.

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