Air New Zealand is suspending its Buenos Aires route with immediate effect.

This comes amid increased government restrictions for travel into Argentina.

NZ31 (Buenos Aires-Auckland) departing Ministro Pistarini Airport at 11.45pm March 18 local time will be the airline's final service until June 30, 2020.

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Air New Zealand said it had upgauged the aircraft operating the service to the larger Boeing 777-300 aircraft which has 30 extra seats than the 777-200 originally scheduled.

"This is a rapidly evolving situation and we thank customers for their patience and understanding at this challenging time," said Air New Zealand chief operational integrity and standards officer Captain David Morgan.

"Our teams are working through options for customers impacted by the earlier than planned suspension and will be in touch in coming days."

This suspension comes as yet another blow for the airline, which has already been forced to cut down on many of its international routes.


The Government will today make a major announcement on a rescue package to offer the aviation industry relief amid this tough period.

The rescue package amounts to a $600 million and is part of the wider $12.1 billion economic support package unveiled this week.

Funding to support Air New Zealand is not part of the announcement, but the airline is deep in talks with the Government (which owns 52 per cent) on a potential bailout as it bleeds cash and revenue dries up.

One estimate this week suggests the revenue forecast of close to $6b this year could plummet to just $1b as international air travel winds down and domestic flights face being cut by half.

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Kiwi's struggle to get home

New Zealander and NZME employee Frances Cook faced a desperate struggle to get home from Argentina after facing a period of quarantine.

"Word went around one night while we were in El Chaltèn, a remote hiking town in southern Argentina," Cook wrote to the Herald from Argentina.

READ MORE:
Frances Cook's full account of leaving Argentina

"'Get out now,' they said. 'Tonight, or first thing tomorrow. Get out now, the borders are going to start closing.'"

Cook travelled to South America as part of a bucket list trip before the situation escalated so severely.

The airport in Argentina. Photo / File
The airport in Argentina. Photo / File

When news shut borders started to filter through, she made a mad dash to get on a plane back to New Zealand. She contacted a travel agent to get details but the information coming through sent mixed messages.

"At first she said it might cost $4000 for new flights. Then she said the airline was able to arrange it for free, with a connection through Chile," Cook said.

"Respond quickly if you want the flight, she said. You'll be taking two of the last three seats."

Cook secured her flight and was set to fly out of Argentina today (New Zealand time).

"Two weeks of isolation at home has never sounded so peaceful and welcome," she said.