Air New Zealand will resume flying all of its Auckland domestic routes when the region moves to COVID-19 alert level 2 on Monday.
The airline has been operating a reduced national schedule in and out of Auckland while the city had its alert level raised to 3. The majority of the rest of Air NZ's domestic network has been operating as normal, but with physical distancing in place.
In a statement, the airline has reminded travellers that wearing a face mask onboard any domestic flight will be mandatory under alert level 2. Masks will be provided, but the airline is encouraging people to bring their own.
CEO Greg Foran says while there will be more flights, there will be less seats available onboard due to social distancing.
"Physical distancing means we can only sell just under 50 percent of seats on a turboprop aircraft and just 65 percent 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 said.
"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"
A320 aircraft operate between the main centres, while turboprop aircraft service the airline's regional routes.
"When it comes to face coverings, this has been a requirement for those flying out of Auckland during alert level 3 and our customers have been really cooperative to date. We support the Government's move to mandate the wearing of face coverings on public transport at alert level 2 from next week," Foran said.
"All Air NZ domestic cabin crew and customer facing employees will be wearing masks and gloves, and pilots will wear masks when interacting with customers or moving through airport terminals"
The airline also announced it has extended fare flexibility through until September 6.
Customers who hold a ticket booked directly with Air NZ for a domestic flight up until this date may opt to hold their fare in credit and can do this via the airline's online booking tool while customers who have booked via a travel agent should speak with their agent to cancel their booking.
Customers who no longer plan to travel have been asked to cancel their bookings as soon as possible to help the airline ensure physical distancing is possible and for other customers who need to travel.
Air NZ also reiterated other safety measures it has in place:
- Customers are encouraged to check in for their flight via the Air NZ app and allow extra time to process through check-in and security
- For those checking in at larger airports, every second self-service kiosk will be operating to support physical distancing. There will also be floor markers for queuing at check-in counters, service desks, bag drops and departure gates, and fewer customers will be boarded and disembarked at a time
- Inflight seating will be allocated to allow an empty seat between customers travelling alone
- The airline will aim to keep families and some travelling companions together, so there may be some people sitting together with no additional space between them
- Food and beverage services on all domestic flights will not be available to minimise contact between customers and cabin crew. Customers should let cabin crew know if they would like a cup of water
- Jet aircraft cabins have hospital operating theatre-grade HEPA filters installed, which filter out viruses.
The airline's Auckland lounges and valet parking service will reopen from Monday as well, but lounges will have a maximum capacity of 100 people.
Masks will be available for customers at all lounges.