Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines have extended a freeze on new bookings to align incoming passenger flows with available isolation facilities.

Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran said the airline continued to work closely with the Government to support efforts to contain COVID-19 at the border.

The airline has had a hold on international services into New Zealand since early July, following a request from the Government worried about isolation and quarantine facilities being overwhelmed.

READ MORE:
Premium - Why Singapore Airlines is back with passenger flights as airlines slowly spool up
Covid 19 coronavirus: Singapore Airlines can now bring Kiwis home, Emirates prepares for NZ flights
Singapore Airlines to restart services to Auckland, Christchurch
Covid 19 coronavirus: Singapore Airlines crew 'kept like prisoners' during NZ layover

"We have extended a hold on new bookings until July 29, to ensure we comply with the rolling 14-day quota. Following this there is capacity for Kiwis to book flights to return home and we will continue to manage this," said Foran.

Advertisement

The airline says there may be a ''small number'' of passengers who will need to be moved to other flights, and the airline will contact any affected customers.

Domestic services are not impacted.

A Singapore Airlines spokesman said the airline is continuing to work closely with the New Zealand authorities to ensure the number of inbound arrivals does not overwhelm the quarantine facilities.

''We will manage the number of inbound passengers we carry over a rolling 14 day period, in consultation with the relevant authorities, so as to ensure we continue to assist the New Zealand government in managing available quarantine space.''

Earlier this month the minister in charge of quarantine and isolation facilities Megan
Woods said the Government and Air New Zealand had agreed to manage incoming bookings in the short term.

This was then extended to other airlines as the Government stemmed the flow of returnees into isolation hotels.

The number of people in quarantine or managed isolation yesterday was 3173. There is space for about 6000 people in 32 hotels in Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington and Christchurch.

Woods said earlier in July the restrictions would enable the Government to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, said Woods.

Advertisement

She said "we were never going to let" border facilities reach maximum capacity.

The Government is working on plans to charge returnees to cover costs of the 14-day stay while National says it would impose a $3000 charge for each adult if it came to power in September.