A mercy flight carrying Kiwis from Peru touched down in Auckland early this morning.

Around 60 people were on board the flight organised and announced by the Government early last week.

An Auckland Airport spokesman said the LATAM Airlines flight - which left Lima, Peru, via Santiago, Chile - arrived at 5am and was met with a full contingent of airport operational staff.

It came after ongoing pleas from Kiwis who suddenly found themselves stuck in Peru after the country went into lockdown at short notice last month.

Advertisement

READ MORE:
Covid 19 coronavirus: Kiwis quoted $5300 for Peru flight - more than double than for Australians
Covid 19 coronavirus: Kiwi medical students stuck in Peru
Covid 19 coronavirus: Kiwis in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
Covid 19 coronavirus: 'Desperate' Te Puke woman stuck in Peru

The airport's aeronautical commercial general manager, Scott Tasker, said because commercial flights between New Zealand and South America are suspended right now, this was the only chance for Kiwis to get back home.

"We still have a limited number of commercial services to Asia, the Middle East, Australia and the United States, but this was it for South America," he said.

"So it's great to be able to welcome these New Zealanders back home in these extraordinary times and we're proud to be playing our part."

Kiwis on board the mercy flight, via a LATAM dreamliner, touched down at Auckland International Airport early this morning. Photo / Supplied
Kiwis on board the mercy flight, via a LATAM dreamliner, touched down at Auckland International Airport early this morning. Photo / Supplied

The 30 covid-19 mercy flights

The Covid-19 outbreak has now seen a total of 30 repatriation flights in and out of Auckland Airport, a spokesman said, carrying around 9500 passengers.

The first mercy flight was an Air New Zealand service on February 6, which brought home Kiwis who had been in the epicentre of the outbreak - Wuhan, China.

Tasker said fewer repatriation services could be expected in the weeks ahead.

Tasker said airport staff had co-ordinated closely with government agencies to facilitate today's arrival.

Advertisement

"A lot of work goes on behind the scenes between a multitude of different organisations to enable these repatriation flights.

"Together, we have worked hard to develop a smooth process for managing services."

As the coronavirus situation continues, Auckland Airport now sees about 3500 passengers each day.

In comparison, about 58,000 passengers were travelling in and out of the terminal each day in April last year.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website