Air travel a headache for many across the Pacific

By D'Angelo Martin

While travel restrictions remain in place, Air New Zealand like many other airlines in the world are feeling the pressure.

It was announced earlier that the company's international network will remain in operation for essential travel and cargo movement from 30 March to 31 May, but this has now been extended until the end of June.

It is a time of headaches and pressure for not only Air New Zealand but for everyone who is at home in isolation, as well as those who are wishing to return to their loved ones but must stay put.

During the outbreak, Air NZ has reduced its international flight capacity by 95 percent in response to government travel restrictions and low demand due to COVID-19. 

At this point, there are only return flights from Auckland to Rarotonga and Niue, which occur on a weekly basis for essential travel. Samoa, Tonga and Fiji are currently not permitting international flights.

Meanwhile, a group of 41 Cook Islanders returning from a world netball festival in Hawaii have been in self-isolation at the Atiu Hall in Auckland since lockdown. The group were on route home to Rarotonga from the USA where they competed in the World Golden Oldies festival last month. The team has welcomed the Cook Island's financial support.

Regional flights within NZ are only available for essential workers, if your flight is non-essential then you will not be able to travel. These strict guidelines will possibly change when the level 4 alert restrictions have been lifted.