UPDATED: Air New Zealand restarts flights but conditions remain difficult

(PHOTO: Via Air New Zealand)

Update on Auckland flights

Further to the airline’s update at 1pm today, Air New Zealand has issued an advisory that all domestic flights in and out of Auckland have been cancelled for the remainder of today (14 February). 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 in these conditions.

International flights are still operating at this stage. 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.

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.”

Customers are advised to change their flight or put it into credit via the Air New Zealand app.

Original story

Air New Zealand said today (14 February) that it is adding extra flights to get customers where they need to be as flights resume across its North Island network. Challenging winds at airports remain. Domestic and international jet operations started from mid-morning today but have been temporarily paused due to strong gusts at Auckland Airport.

Air New Zealand 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, and flights in and out of New Plymouth, Napier and Gisborne remain suspended due to airport closures and poor weather conditions.

Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty says 11 flights have been added to its domestic schedule to help with recovery efforts, with more to come. “While its good news that planes are able to start flying again across the North Island, unfortunately conditions at New Plymouth, Napier and Gisborne airports mean flying isn’t possible until tomorrow at the earliest. Our hearts go out to these affected regions who continue to be battered by Cyclone Gabrielle. We’ll get services back up to connect these regions as soon as possible. We’re ready and waiting to support the national state of emergency response and are talking to affected communities on 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.”

The airline says a total of 592 flights have been impacted due to the cyclone, with around 35,000 customers disrupted across its whole network. “Urgent work is underway to rebook customers onto other flights – with around 1,500 international customers still to be rebooked,” said Geraghty. “Flights are very full but we’re working as fast as we can to rebook these remaining customers into the next available seats, and we’ve been in touch with them to let them know we’re pulling out all the stops to get people flying again. This includes getting all our customer teams to support the rebooking effort. This includes adding extra flights where possible to get our customers where they need to be as quickly as possible. We’re looking at all available options, including adding larger planes, working with Star Alliance partners, converting cargo flights and adding additional services where possible. These aren’t easy to stand up but they’re the right thing to do.”

Extra international flights and bigger planes to Fiji, Samoa and Tahiti will speed up recovery from the Pacific. Air New Zealand is also extending 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. The airline’s Travel Alerts page has the most up to date information on operating flights.

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