New Zealand Government tightens COVID-19 rules for airline cabin crew

Cabin crew member on commercial aircraft with gloves and mask protection
Photo credit: Getty Images

The rules are changing for cabin crew working on flights in and out of New Zealand, Health Minister Chris Hipkins announced on Friday.

As of Monday, additional measures will come into effect to boost defence against COVID-19 at the border as part of a "precautionary approach and strategy of constant review", Hipkins said.

"This order is designed to make sure that our air border is even safer and that we reduce the risk of COVID-19 being spread to the greatest extent possible. It builds on our already extensive border protection regime, which is one of the strongest in the world." 

New COVID-19 rules for cabin crew:   

  • Overseas-based air crew who are laying over in New Zealand will be required to stay in a Government managed isolation facility for as long as they are in the country, to ensure they avoid contact with New Zealanders 
  • All overseas-based air crew will be required to wear appropriate PPE while in New Zealand airports and whenever travelling between the airport and their hotel
  • All New Zealand-based air crew will be required to use PPE on all flights and to isolate with other crew members while on overseas layovers

New Zealand-based crew returning to New Zealand from high-risk locations overseas will be required to self-isolate for at least 48 hours after they return, and until they are assessed as being at low risk of having COVID-19 (including receiving a negative test).

Hipkins says reviews and audits have shown strong levels of compliance. 

No cases of COVID-19 among air crew workers have been identified since guidance was first introduced in April, according to the Ministry of Health.

"This new regime, however, will provide extra reassurance to crew, passengers and New Zealanders that we take nothing for granted. It will be monitored and reviewed in December," Hipkins said.

The COVID-19 border protection changes come into effect from 11.59pm on Sunday.