Singaporean flag carrier Singapore Airlines has reportedly announced its plans to resume passenger flight services to Christchurch and Auckland from June 9. The company had ceased its flight operations to New Zealand in March owing to the closure of national boundaries due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The resumption of services includes bi-weekly flights to Auckland and weekly flights to Christchurch.
Kenny Teo, the General Manager at Singapore Airlines in New Zealand, has stated the airline’s commitment to ensuring New Zealand’s global connectivity by keeping key trade channels open and allowing essential travel.
Even during the lockdown period, the company had continued to provide cargo flight services. According to Teo, throughout the course of the lockdown, the airline had operated freighter services (thrice in a week) to ensure the essential flow of commodities in and out of New Zealand.
For the record, Singapore Airlines had earlier introduced five-times weekly cargo-only flights to Auckland to suffice the increasing demand for movement of essential goods. The company has explained that two of these five flights will now begin operation as passenger and cargo services and the remaining three will continue to operate as cargo-only flight services subject to stringent restrictions.
Sources cite that New Zealand has been continuously following strict restrictions in terms of who can enter the country and who is prohibited to do so.
Singapore Airlines says that the flight services will be operational for residents of New Zealand who urgently need to return home abroad. Restrictions will also be relaxed for foreigners deemed to be essential to a project of significant economic value. It is this provision that has controversially granted permission to James Cameron and more than 50 Avatar crew to enter the island nation.
For the record, Singapore Airlines has further opinionated that it would take a long time to resume international travel to its full capacity due to current border restrictions. The company will continuously monitor the global scenario of changing border restrictions and make respective alterations to its minimum connectivity network accordingly.