Air New Zealand international crew returning home from countries where they are at high risk of catching Covid-19 must now isolate in a special hotel with the tab being picked up by taxpayers.
Until Monday, aircrew had the choice to self-isolate at home in New Zealand.
TVNZ has reported that every week about 80 pilots and cabin crew on high-risk flights are now being driven to a hotel where a private healthcare team tests them for Covid-19.
If they test negative, they can leave after 48 hours.
"We're not going to have security on the door. We do trust the airlines to follow the rules," Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins told 1 News.
Tonight, the Ministry of Health told the Herald the arrangement requires aircrew to take dedicated transport to a hotel, isolating as soon as practicable on landing, before any interaction with the community.
They are also required to return a negative Covid-19 result before travelling to their homes or interacting with the community.
The ministry said the hotel where the aircrew stay, which they would not name or identify its whereabouts, is not managed isolation/quarantine (MIQ) facility.
However, aircrew are required to follow isolation requirements, which includes staying in their rooms until the result of their test is available. Meals are delivered to their rooms during this time and they are permitted to exercise outside provided they maintain social distancing and wear personal protective equipment (PPE).
Some are asking why it's been kept so quiet and say the new measures fall well short of keeping us safe.
Epidemiologist Michael Baker said the new procedures for aircrew might come as a surprise to New Zealanders that this isn't already happening.
This is still a low bar to stop the virus, he said.
"Some countries would require aircrew to always go through a 14-day quarantine process, and they would stay at a designated facility near the airport.
"I suspect some countries would be much tougher than New Zealand and would require aircrew to stay airside in a facility for 14 days before entering the community," Baker said.
That, he said, would be a higher bar for protection.
1 News said it had been told some cabin crew were suspected of breaking self-isolation at home and Hipkins was aware of the claims.
"It's difficult to respond to anecdotes rather than actual evidence that people haven't been following the rules," he said.
The new arrangement is being paid for by the Government, which says Air New Zealand is an essential service, and right now it is essential to keep the national carrier in the air.