Cyclone Gabrielle: Fire and Emergency briefing at 7.30am; Auckland Emergency Management from 8am
* Cyclone Gabrielle: Follow our live updates
* Cyclone Gabrielle: All you need to know today
* Cyclone Gabrielle: When will the bad weather end in your region?
Flights through Auckland Airport
are currently suspended due to high winds.
Ground handling operations have needed to pause due to wind speed on the airfield, and the need to protect the safety of airport workers, the airport said.
Air New Zealand said all its domestic flights in and out of Auckland have been cancelled for the remainder of today. This is expected to affect around 55 flights.
Air New Zealand chief operational integrity and safety officer Captain David Morgan says the strength and direction of winds at Auckland Airport are making it challenging to service aircraft, and it would be unsafe for our people to continue to operate.
International flights are still operating ‘‘at this stage,’’ he said.
‘’These are able to operate because the international terminal is more sheltered from winds, however, the airline will be monitoring wind gusts closely and will reassess if conditions change.With forecast strong winds for the remainder of the day, customers are warned to expect ongoing disruption and delays.’’
Air New Zealand started – then paused – jet services through Auckland Airport today and says 35,000 passengers have had flights disrupted in the past three days. Some face weeks to get new bookings.
Although Air New Zealand plans to resume scheduled services from tomorrow, there will be challenges.
“Today’s disruptions mean tomorrow will begin without all aircraft and crew in the locations required. We can also expect ongoing weather challenges, so we’re asking customers to please bear with us -our people are doing everything they can,” said Morgan.
Turboprop services are due to begin from Auckland to other North Island ports from mid-afternoon but will not operate to New Plymouth because of crosswinds or Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne because of uncertainty about conditions on the ground because of the impact of flooding.
Domestic and international jet operations started from mid-morning today but have been temporarily paused due to strong gusts at Auckland Airport, the airline says. There are numerous cancellations showing on the airline’s website.
Air New Zealand still 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,
The airline’s chief executive, Greg Foran, said on RNZ it was hoped to get flights operating to the three centres in the near term.
There had been problems contacting Gisborne, where much communication to the district had been knocked out.
A big Transpower outage in Hawke’s Bay has cut power to parts of that region and Gisborne. Foran said the airline was working to understand how that could affect ground operations there.
He said about 20,000 domestic passengers had been disrupted but they could be reaccomodated within the next few days.
Air New Zealand said today it has added 11 extra domestic flights to the schedule today to help with recovery efforts with more to come.
Foran said it was working to get people to key centres including Auckland, Nelson and Dunedin where students are going.
“Over the next couple of days, we’ll basically be getting ourselves in reasonable shape domestically, internationally, it will take a bit longer. We don’t have lots of spare planes sitting around doing nothing. In fact, we don’t really have any,” he said on RNZ.
About 10,000 international passengers were disrupted during the last two days and the airline was rejigging schedules, putting bigger planes on some routes and talking to airline partners to put on recovery flights. Following the January 27 floods, Singapore Airlines used an Airbus A380 on the Singapore-Auckland route.
Foran said those at the bottom of the list faced a wait of up to 19 days. However, following the January floods most passengers who faced a wait of weeks initially were put on flights earlier.
Affected passengers were now being notified of new bookings.
The airline is not meeting the costs of those disrupted because the cyclone is an event beyond its control but has said it is helping those who were diverted and had to stay in other countries en-route to New Zealand.
On its travel alert page, Air New Zealand says its contact centre is overwhelmed with calls.
“For your safety, please do not travel to airports unless you are due to depart. Our airport staff are not able to assist with rebooking flights,” the airline warns.
Travel chaos as thrown the spotlight on insurance for travel.
Southern Cross Travel Insurance says with disruption to travel plans it was dealing with increased claims and inquiries.
There is coverage under its TravelCare and Domestic travel insurance policies for customers who are already on their journeys and unable to return home, and for those whose upcoming travel plans have been disrupted.
“We know airlines are working hard to reschedule flights for those whose travel home has been immediately impacted by cyclone-related cancellations. In these cases, we do ask that, if possible, customers wait to hear from the airline before making a claim online with us,” said Jo McCauley, chief executive of Southern Cross Travel Insurance.
Travel insurance policies provide up to $30,000 cover (less any excess the customer has selected) for reasonable additional costs relating to things such as accommodation, scheduled transport and airport parking.
“While we’re used to dealing with unexpected events that disrupt travel, we’ve received a significant number of claims relating to both the January flooding event and the ongoing effects of Cyclone Gabrielle, so we ask our customers to be patient.”
- 6 Best Costco Vacation Packages
- Are there any end-of-summer travel deals left?
- 11 Best Prime Day Travel Deals (2022): Luggage, Travel Adapters, and More
- Be prepared for your next trip with these Amazon luggage options
- WayAway introduced first travel search that finds travelers cheap flights with real cash cashback deals