Following New Zealand's abrupt reintroduction of Covid 19 alert levels many travellers are asking what this means for upcoming flights and plans. Here is what you need to know about travel during the Level 2 restrictions and Auckland's local Level 3 alert.
Travel to and from Auckland
A local Level 3 Alert means there are restrictions on travel within and outside the wider Auckland region.
From midnight on Sunday police checkpoints are in place, with Aucklanders being told not to travel outside the region. Likewise New Zealanders whose place of residence is outside of Auckland will not be able to enter.
However there are some exceptions to these hard travel borders. New Zealanders are able to travel between Auckland and the rest of the country in order to return home, however beyond essential travel to not "move around".
Within Auckland travel should be restricted to accessing essential services, for work or exercise.
Flights to and from Auckland
Auckland's Airport serves a hub for travel well outside the Auckland region. Air New Zealand has said it will be running its normal schedule for the next 24 hours (15 February) to allow passengers to return home. Aucklanders should not be leaving city, however the carrier has told those with exiting bookings to expect disruption.
"From Tuesday 16 February until Wednesday 17 February we will then be required to social distance onboard, so our schedule may change," said Air New Zealand. The carrier is offering free flight rescheduling for passengers holding tickets up until 21 February, delaying travel to March 7 at the latest. This can be done via the Air New Zealand website. airnewzealand.co.nz/manage-bookings
Similarly Jetstar is reviewing its domestic routes and has warned that services may be cancelled. The airline says they @strongly encourage these customers to bring their flights forward to return before 16 February 2021," and passengers with tickets can rebook free of charge at their website: booking.jetstar.com/mmb/
Auckland Airport has made changes for the new alert levels, saying that access to terminals will restricted to passengers flying that day.
"It's going to be important to plan ahead and have all the essentials you might need for your flight, because they might not be available to purchase at the terminal, said Anna Cassels-Brown, Auckland Airport's GM for operations.
Passengers will still be able to transit the airport. Those flying into Auckland who are returning to a place of residence outside the Auckland area or transiting to another flight will still be able to travel.
In questions to the prime minister, last night Jacinda Ardern said that passengers can be expected to be challenged on reasons why they are flying.
"If you're transiting through Auckland airport. Flights will continue out of Auckland.
You may be asked for a reason why you are travelling.
Last night Australia suspended its quarantine exemptions for travellers arriving from New Zealand.
All passengers travelling to Australia will have to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel.
The new rule will remain in place for the next three days, before the situation is reassessed.
New Zealanders booked on inbound international flights will still be able to come to New Zealand.
"Essentially we can't say to New Zealand citizens that they can't come home," said the prime minister last night.
"If we did that we would potentially leave them without a home country that they are legally able to enter. You'll find that no country in the world is barring its citizens."
Returning New Zealand residents will still need to book into MIQ and have a valid Managed Isolation Allocation System voucher in order to board flights to New Zealand.
Travelling elsewhere in New Zealand
At Level 2 travel is not restricted between other parts of the country. Those outside of Auckland can continue to do so, but are advised to follow best hygiene practice and continue to scan in using the Covid tracer app.
As with the 12 August 2020 Auckland local lockdown, many of the measures will be familiar. Residents of Northland elsewhere in the country will be able to transit Auckland, but only to return home. Similarly for those who find themselves currently in Northland cut off by the local lockdown measures will also be able to travel through Auckland home.
You may be asked to show proof of your address and for give a reason for your travel at police checkpoints.
Booking on the Cook Straight ferry crossing will continue, but operators Bluebridge have suspended further bookings until Friday 19 February. Those with existing tickets can continue to travel but are told that "social distancing and contact tracing measures are in place."
Around the country travellers are advised to continue scanning in with the New Zealand Covid Tracer App and enable the bluetooth close contact function.
Travellers affected by the last regional lockdown will be familiar with some of the restrictions, but anyone planning essential travel or seeking exemptions for the current local travel restrictions are advised to visit the Ministry of health's Travel advice page: