Air New Zealand will be back flying domestic routes from Auckland from Monday 31 August, as the region moves to Alert Level 2. Still, ongoing distancing measures mean there will be up to 50 per cent fewer seats.
The carrier has been operating a reduced schedule from Auckland Airport's domestic terminal while the city has been under Level 3 measures. However as Auckland rejoins the rest of the country flight schedules will be resuming as normal, albeit with physical distancing in place.
Auckland Airport's Air New Zealand lounges will be reopened from Monday. The airline says masks will be provided at these lounges but capacity will be capped at 100 guests at a time, with tracing measures in place.
The airline asks customers travelling anywhere on the network to wear a face covering while onboard. Air New Zealand asks passengers to bring their own masks, but says spares will be provided before boarding.
Air boss Greg Foran has warned that though they will be flying a regular service, distancing measures means that seat numbers will still be reduced.
"Physical distancing means we can only sell just under 50 per cent of seats on a turboprop aircraft and just 65 per cent on an A320 which also means we won't be able to offer our lowest lead in fares until physical distancing measures are removed."
Foran says that passengers so far have been very cooperative with mask wearing, and that they anticipate the continued wearing of face masks in Level 2 will be accepted as a normal part of air travel. Cabin crew, sales and ground staff will all be required to wear PPE while in airport terminals.
"We support the government's move to mandate the wearing of face coverings on public transport at Alert Level 2 from next week," he said in a statement.
There may however be further disruption to journeys as passengers are moved for physical distancing. Reduced capacity means not everyone will be able to fly on the plane they have booked.
"This has put huge pressure on our business as it means we need to move some of our customers to other flights. We'd like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding while we work through these changes," said Foran.
Air New Zealand has extended the 'fare flexibility' until midnight on Sunday 6th September, meaning those with tickets can hold on to their fare as credit or rebook for a later flight. To do this passengers should manage their flights via their 'online booking tool' (airnewzealand.co.nz/manage-bookings) or contact the agent who booked their travel.
Flying Air NZ next week? Here's what you need to know
• Customers are encouraged to check in for their flight online or via the Air NZ app, and allow extra time for check-in and security
• Every second self-service kiosk will be operating to support physical distancing. Distancing and passenger flow will be managed at check-in and bag drop, and fewer customers will be boarded and disembarked at a time
• Onboard, an empty seat will be left between customers travelling alone. Families and travelling companions from the same bubble will be kept together where possible.
• There will be no food or beverage services on all domestic flights to minimise contact. Water will be available from cabin crew, on request
• Plane cabins air is filtered through hospital-grade HEPA filters, reducing the potential of virus transmission