Air New Zealand is introducing a "test and return" policy as staff shortages lead to flight cancellations.
The airline's chief operational integrity and safety officer David Morgan said it had agreed with the Government that the airline will operate a "test-to-return" policy that will enable its critical workers who are close contacts to return to work in a safe and efficient way.
This means that if close contacts of Covid cases test negative with rapid antigen tests (RATs) they can return to work.
Morgan said that with Omicron cases increasing in the community, Air New Zealand has cancelled about 190 regional flights to safeguard its network connectivity.
"We have watched other airlines overseas and seen the impact of high levels of employee sickness due to Omicron. We need to ensure we have our people and aircraft in the right place to ensure operational resilience and can continue to get Kiwis where they need to be. This has meant the cancelling of some regional flights which required our crew to stay overnight."
He said the airline was sorry for the impact this has had on its customers.
"We are working hard to continue to keep Kiwis connected. Rest assured in the current circumstances, there will continue to be services available to all regional ports, however at a lower frequency."
The Government's business.govt.nz website says that in phases two and three of an Omicron outbreak, a critical services register will provide for return-to-work RAT testing for asymptomatic close contacts who help to maintain critical infrastructure and supply chains.
The bar for "critical workers" to be registered is very high, and critical workers are not the same as "essential workers" under the alert level system.
Advice to passengers
Air New Zealand has today reminded passengers of vaccination requirements as the re-opening of borders for Kiwis has seen a surge in demand.
The airline's international vaccination policy came into effect on February 1 with all customers travelling on Air New Zealand's international network now required to show proof of full vaccination.
In line with the Government's requirements announced this week, all customers will also need to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test prior to departure and must complete a period of home isolation on arrival into New Zealand.
Those wanting to book to travel can do so now via the Air New Zealand website where customers with credits can also use them as a form of payment, or through their preferred travel agent.
Air New Zealand's international flying checklist:
• You'll need to show your International Vaccine Certificate to board an Air New Zealand international flight. This is different to the My Vaccine Pass Kiwis use for domestic travel.
• You may need a negative pre-departure test to enter your destination. Make sure you check the country entry requirements.
• Travel declarations vary from country to country. Check what you need and fill these out.
• Locate your passport and check the expiry date. You'll need at least six months before expiry to travel.
• Allow plenty of time, we recommend around three hours, to check in and verify your travel documents.