Air NZ cancels trans-Tasman Xmas flights

·2-min read

Tens of thousands of trans-Tasman travellers have had their flights cancelled by Air New Zealand, which blames border uncertainty for the move.

On Monday, New Zealand's national carrier axed 1000 flights across the Tasman through to December 31.

Air NZ executive Leanne Geraghty blamed the Kiwi government for dragging the chain on re-opening the border.

"This will be particularly tough news for families and friends who were hoping to catch up over Christmas," Ms Geraghty said.

"I appreciate how difficult this news will be, but our hands are tied until border restrictions ease, and we receive further clarity from the New Zealand Government."

The Australian government allows quarantine-free travel from New Zealand, though it is also up to each state and territory to allow international travel.

New Zealand, on the other hand, is holding firm to its quarantine regime until the first quarter of next year, as Jacinda Ardern's government attempts to restrict cases.

"We fully appreciate the importance of us reconnecting safely," she said in Wellington on Monday.

"We don't want the uncertainty for New Zealanders for businesses and for airlines of changing settings.

"That does mean that we will stick through our changes very carefully and based on very strong advice of those experts who have supported every step of our COVID response."

The two countries attempted to operate the trans-Tasman bubble for three months this year.

The quarantine-free travel agreement was plagued by closures and eventually suspended in July.

Air NZ says it will keep operating "red flights" which take passengers from Australia to NZ for quarantine, and a skeleton schedule into Melbourne and Sydney from NZ.

It will keep its 2022 schedule in place awaiting further moves from the government, and will provide flight credits for all affected customers.

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