Repatriation flights fortnightly

Auckland-Apia repatriation flights for Samoans in New Zealand will be arriving on a fortnightly basis, Air New Zealand has confirmed.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the airline will begin operating its fortnightly flights from Friday 29 May. 

"Air New Zealand is aware there are a large number of people in New Zealand who would like to return to Samoa,” she said. 

“Air New Zealand will, as soon as possible, make contact with those customers who are already booked on a service or have registered their interest in repatriation with the Samoan [Consulate].

 "To allow for appropriate social distancing onboard, and to ensure quarantine can be managed in Samoa, passenger numbers for each of the repatriation flights will be limited.  

"Air New Zealand asks all those interested in getting on one of the repatriation flights for their patience as bookings are worked through."

She said that the repatriation flights will be carried out in accordance with travel advice issued by the Government of Samoa.

"All passengers on the repatriation flights will need to take a Covid-19 test three days before travel, and to carry proof of a negative result," said Ms. Cameron.

"On arrival in Samoa, all passengers will be required to enter a 14-day quarantine at locations nominated by the Samoan Government."

Currently, more than 1000 Samoans are seeking their way home.

Included in the list are seasonal workers who have completed work contracts, sports teams, public servants, international staff who work in Samoa as well as families and individuals who have been visiting friends and family.

The first repatriation flight touched down in Samoa last Friday carrying only a handful of passengers including the incoming Chief Justice, His Honour Satiu Simativa Perese.

Accompanying the Chief Justice on the flight were the ANZ Bank’s Country Manager, Bernie Poort, and Air NZ's Country Manager for Samoa, Karen Gatt. 

Friday’s flight had been intended to be full but was postponed mid-way through last week over concerns that requirements that all incoming passengers be tested for coronavirus were not yet able to be met. 

The Friday afternoon flight returned to Auckland with 65 New Zealanders on the same day.

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