Air New Zealand is offering special compassionate fares for relatives of those involved in the White Island tragedy.

The airline has put in place a special fare policy it has for significant national events and is offering one-way domestic fares of no more than $50, $100 one-way across the Tasman and $1000 for return flights anywhere else in the world.

A spokesman said those who identify themselves as relatives of casualties of Monday's eruption can travel on the capped flights.

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There had been a small number who had so far taken advantage of the offer.

Air New Zealand was also working to co-ordinate travel of relatives with cruise line Royal Caribbean which operates the Ovation of the Seas, from which about 40 of those on the White Island tour originated.

Forty-seven people were on or near the island when the volcano erupted - 24 were Australian, nine were from the United States, five were Kiwis, four were Germans, two were Chinese and one was Malaysian.

There are 30 people still in six different hospitals around the country.

The spokesman said the airline also offered to put in more flights to Tauranga and some to Whakatane but this had not been taken up by authorities co-ordinating the emergency response.

Air New Zealand offered similar compassionate fare deals around the time of the Pike River disaster in 2010 and the mosque attacks in Christchurch in March, after an initial glitch when automatic demand-driven pricing kicked in and pushed prices sky-high on the weekend following the shootings.

The airline also provided an air lift of emergency service personnel around the time of the Port Hills fires in Christchurch in 2017 and in Nelson earlier this year.

Qantas says it is working with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and will offer assistance as required.


Air Chathams has served Whakatane following Air NZ's exit and says it has extended an offer to help all clients in the Eastern Bay.

It would work with those companies and personnel directly ''where we can and on request individually. We know these groups personally after almost 6 years operating flights into Whakatane.''

Air Chathams had two flight cancellations when the airport was closed by the Civil Aviation Authority on the evening of the eruption. Flights recommenced the following morning.