Around 27,000 Air New Zealand customers will be affected after the national carrier on Tuesday announced its plan to cancel an estimated 120 flights through to the end of February.
It comes after Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced the Government’s decision to delay the start of non-MIQ travel to late February 2022.
“Our heart goes out to those who were counting down the days until they could reconnect with their family and friends,” Air New Zealand chief executive officer Greg Foran said in a media release.
“While this news is disappointing for the airline, we know these changes are put in place to keep Aotearoa safe. We’ll now need to navigate our way through what these changes mean for our customers, as we have done over the past 23 months.”
The airline said most of the cancelled services are across the Tasman, with only a small reduction in frequency on some long-haul flights.
“Even though it may not be as soon as we had hoped, when the day comes our team will be standing tall, with a big smile, ready to welcome customers on board once again."
All existing quarantine-free flights from Australia to New Zealand between January 17 and February 28, 2022 will be cancelled, and there will be a limited schedule of quarantine flights available to book.
Customers who still wish to travel to New Zealand will need to secure a spot in MIQ before booking a quarantine flight.
The airline will continue to operate a reduced schedule from New Zealand to Australia but will be consolidating its schedule and only operating services out of Auckland.
Customers with bookings who no longer wish to travel are asked to use the airline’s online self-service tool to hold their fare in credit.
Travellers have been advised to check the airline’s Travel Alerts page for the quarantine flight schedule.
The airline’s international flexibility policy is in place for flights scheduled to depart before June 30, 2022 meaning customers can change their flights with change fees waived.
Customers who have booked through a travel agent or third-party online agent will need to contact them directly to re-book or place their ticket into credit.