Air New Zealand drops proof of vaccination, negative test requirements following move to orange

Air New Zealand has dropped its proof of vaccination and negative test requirements to fly as the country moves to orange.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced on Wednesday that at 11:59pm, New Zealand will shift to the less restrictive orange level of the traffic light system. 

The move to orange ends indoor capacity limits as well as the requirement for hospitality guests to be seated and separated. But face masks will remain in place for retail, public transport, flights, and public venues like libraries. 

From Thursday, domestic Air New Zealand passengers will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to fly around Aotearoa, and from May 1, the airline will remove its no jab, no fly vaccination policy for international customers.

Food and beverage service will also resume on domestic flights from April 15.

Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said removing some of its requirements made sense since Aotearoa has seen a drop in transmission and is an overall highly vaccinated population.

"As Omicron took hold in the community, we put in place several temporary measures aimed at keeping our employees, customers and New Zealand safe. After a careful risk assessment, we feel now is the right time to step back some of those measures," he said.

"New Zealand is moving back towards a sense of normality. We're seeing customers return to our domestic network and we're welcoming back Australians from today. We're aware that COVID is not behind us yet and we have taken a considered approach and will continue to revise safety measures depending on what we're seeing here in New Zealand and around the world."

Air New Zealand drops proof of vaccination, negative test requirements following move to orange
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Foran thanked customers for the support they showed both throughout the pandemic and while these restrictions were in place.

"It's terrific to finally be getting our food and beverage service back up and running again, we know it's something our customers look forward to when they fly with us," he said.

Masks will still be required onboard under orange for customers and employees.

Air New Zealand's domestic flexibility policy is in place until April 30, meaning customers with a booking up until then who no longer wish to travel can opt into credit or change their flight with no change fees.

Jetstar no longer has a vaccine or negative test requirement. While it had these rules in place, it conducted spot checks across all New Zealand airports.

Jetstar also reinstated its inflight food and drinks menu on April 5. Masks are still mandatory on board.