Coronavirus: Air New Zealand drops face mask requirements after Government axes COVID-19 restrictions

Air New Zealand says face coverings will no longer be required on any of its flights from Tuesday after the Government axed COVID-19 restrictions.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the decision to scrap the COVID-19 Protection Framework would give much-needed certainty to New Zealanders and businesses and help our economy.

From 11:59pm on Monday, all mask-wearing requirements will be removed except in healthcare and aged care facilities. Vaccination requirements for incoming travellers and aircrew will be dropped as well.

Air New Zealand's chief customer and sales Leanne Geraghty said while the announcement means face masks will no longer be required on inbound international or domestic flights, customers will still be welcome to wear their own face mask if they wish and the airline will continue to make masks available.

"Masks have played an important part in keeping customers, crew and communities safe during the COVID pandemic, but it's time to say farewell," she said in a statement on Monday.

"While some customers and employees will welcome this news, it doesn't mean masks are disappearing forever. We really encourage customers to continue to do what makes them comfortable, which is the same message we're sharing with our employees.

"I want to make a special call out to our frontline staff who have smiled behind masks during a difficult period, often wearing masks for hours on end. They've helped keep customers and our communities safe, and we're looking forward to seeing their smiling faces again."

Masks may still be required on some outbound international flights depending on the individual jurisdiction the flight is arriving in. Air NZ added customers can opt into credit until September 30 if they don't want to travel following the change.

Auckland Transport also responded to the announcement, saying in a statement the public is no longer required to wear a mask whilst using public transport or at stations.

"Customers are reminded for their safety, and that of other passengers, not to travel if they feel unwell," a spokesperson said.