Air NZ begins series of repatriation flight between Auckland and Samoa

The first of a series of flights left this morning.
The first of a series of flights left this morning. Photo credit: Newshub.

The first of a series of repatriation flights between New Zealand and Samoa departed Auckland early Friday morning for Apia as part of ongoing work between Air New Zealand and the Samoan government.

The service, operated by one of the airline's Airbus A321 aircraft, is due to arrive in Apia at 1.40pm (local time). 

Repatriation flights between the two countries will operate once a fortnight. Passengers on the repatriation flights will need to take a COVID-19 test three days before travel and to carry proof of a negative result. 

Passengers are also required to hold a medical certificate advising they are fit to fly and have no symptoms of illness.

On arrival in Samoa, all passengers will be required to enter a 14-day quarantine at locations nominated by the government.

Each flight will operate with a limited number of passengers to ensure social distancing onboard and to ensure quarantine can be managed in Samoa.

Samoan residents in New Zealand who would like to register for repatriation to Samoa should contact the Samoan Consulate. 

"There are a large number of people currently in New Zealand who would like to return to Samoa. Because of COVID-19 and the resulting travel bans, for many of them there has been a substantial wait to be able to return to Samoa. Air NZ is in the process of making contact with those customers and looks forward to assisting the Samoan government with facilitating their repatriation," said the airline's country manager for Samoa, Karen Gatt.

Work is underway by authorities to try and include the Pacific Islands in a travel bubble with Australia and New Zealand in the coming months.