Air New Zealand will from this week be participating in Covid-19 testing for international air crew and airport staff in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, the airline has announced.

The airline's crews who fly internationally are exempt from the strict 14-day quarantine rules for people returning to New Zealand from overseas, with the exception of its Los Angeles flights.

But Air NZ last week requested that the ministry consider a testing regime for asymptomatic international air crew and airport workers, following the move to test asymptomatic people at supermarkets.

Companies with employees at the airport would also be offered Covid-19 testing. Photo / Stock
Companies with employees at the airport would also be offered Covid-19 testing. Photo / Stock

"We've been working closely with the ministry on how to increase the level of assurance that health measures undertaken to protect airline employees and passengers is effective," an Air NZ spokeswoman said.


"The Auckland District Health Board will carry out this testing which will be rolled out as soon as possible this week. It will include pilots and cabin crew returning from international flights, as well as other customer-facing airport workers."

However, she said the exercise was not Air NZ specific and other companies with employees at the airport would also be offered testing.

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On Monday the airline confirmed crew members had been forced to self-isolate after some staff allegedly disregarded physical distancing rules during a layover in Vancouver.

Air New Zealand is currently operating 16 return international services a week, and is planning to add three return services a week to Shanghai at the end of May.

Air NZ confirmed that 30 of its employees have tested positive for Covid-19. Of those, 25 have now recovered and the remaining five are currently recovering at home.

It said not all cases were linked to employment at Air NZ and not all are air crew.

"Air NZ continues to strictly adhere to the MOH guidelines for air crew and has not had a positive case in the past 12 days. Just one positive case has been confirmed since 1 April," the spokeswoman said.


"Our medical team are actively managing all cases, providing assistance to those impacted and advice to our employees on how to minimise the risk of contracting Covid-19."

Out of about 3,000 cabin crew at Air New Zealand, 27 have been identified as being a "close contact" on the basis they worked on a flight that included a passenger that was a confirmed or probable Covid-19 case.

"All of these have now have completed their self-isolation without illness," she added.