A Government-chartered flight sent to pick up stranded Kiwis in Wuhan is expected to arrive in the coronavirus-stricken city this evening.
It will then have a short time on the ground before it's then due to head back to Auckland just before midnight, says Air New Zealand chief operational integrity and standards officer Captain David Morgan.
It is scheduled to land back at Auckland International Airport on Wednesday afternoon.
"There will be New Zealand, Australian and Pacific Island nationals on the flight back from Wuhan.
"The flight will be operated by a team of 20 Air New Zealand employees who volunteered for the special mission. This includes five pilots, 11 cabin crew and medical and engineering staff.
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"We are pleased to be able to support the New Zealand Government with the repatriation of New Zealanders and other foreign nationals from Wuhan in China's Hubei province," Morgan said.
"The Air New Zealand crew who have volunteered for this flight are among some of our most experienced pilots and crew. They will be under the command of a captain who has more than 30 years' experience with the airline."
The wellbeing of passengers and crew was Air New Zealand's "top priority and it is implementing infection control measures advised by the Ministry of Health and the airline's chief medical officer", he said.
"There will be minimal interaction between cabin crew and passengers, and pilots will not come into contact with passengers. Crew will wear appropriate personal protection gear while assisting passengers during the service."
Captain Morgan thanked Chinese officials and New Zealand Government representatives for their efforts to facilitate the necessary approvals to make the repatriation flight happen.
"We have been highly impressed by the way in which Chinese officials have put the necessary approvals in place given the extraordinary circumstance that they are dealing with in Wuhan," he says.
Before any passengers can board the flight in Wuhan, their health will be assessed by St John paramedics.
Meanwhile, E tū, the union for Air NZ staff, says it's closely monitoring the safety of all cabin crew, ground crew, cleaners and catering staff involved in the Wuhan repatriation flight.
"The union has been working to ensure Aviation workers have a voice in the preparations and that all the crew and passengers on board get back to New Zealand safe and sound," Savage, E tū Head of Aviation, said.
"Union workplace leaders are focused on ensuring New Zealand aviation safety standards are maintained so that the flight can happen as soon as it gets clearance.
"Both E tū and Air New Zealand will work productively to deal with any unexpected operational changes that might arise. We look forward to the flight completing its mission and returning to New Zealand tomorrow night."