Private jet leaves Dunedin, en route to Hong Kong

Mystery flight ... A Bombardier Global Express jet sits on the runway at an otherwise all but...
Mystery flight ... A Bombardier Global Express jet sits on the runway at an otherwise all but abandoned Dunedin Airport yesterday afternoon. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Amid the global Covid-19 pandemic a private jet which landed at Dunedin Airport from Cambodia has left for Hong Kong carrying 10 international travellers today.

A Southern District Health Board spokesman confirmed there was a "privately arranged" flight in from Cambodia to Dunedin yesterday with three crew only on board.

"Under the border control regulations crew can come into New Zealand and are not required to do the 14 days quarantine. However, under Alert Level 4 the crew fully understand the restrictions and will be abiding by those."

The plane departed Dunedin this afternoon and is now en route to Hong Kong after stopping in Brisbane, according to a flight tracker.

A Customs spokesperson confirmed the private flight arrived yesterday with only crew members on board, to repatriate international visitors wishing to leave New Zealand.

"The aircraft is scheduled to depart with two crew members and 10 passengers on board.”

"Private aircraft operators have been notified of the new travel measures that have come into effect, and passengers or crew from private flights are being processed in the same manner, and are subject to the same entry criteria, as those arriving on commercial aircraft.

"Customs works closely with airport companies to ensure these processes are being followed.

For privacy reasons, Customs could not provide information on individual travellers. 

Dunedin Airport chief executive Richard Roberts said the airport would not release any information — about who was on board or where they were coming from — for any charter flights.

He confirmed it was likely related to a repatriation.

‘‘It gets in today and it leaves tomorrow," he said yesterday.

He said he could not say what the direction of travel was.

Mr Roberts had not heard of the company VistaJet, to which the 11,100km-range business jet belonged.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but it issued a statement on March 25 that it was offering complimentary ‘‘empty-leg flights’’ for governments and medical transportation during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

VistaJet founder and chairman Thomas Flohr said the company had created a dedicated web page to channel all requests from governments and medical organisations to ensure prioritisation, address the most critical cases, and manage safety screening.

■ Air New Zealand has released a new limited domestic schedule for flights during Alert Level 3.

It will run return flights from Auckland to Christchurch, Wellington, Tauranga and Napier, from Wellington to Christchurch and Nelson, and from Christchurch to Dunedin.

The airline transported just 175 passengers yesterday in what might be a record low, chief revenue officer Cam Wallace said in a tweet.


If it really mattered to me, I'd probably watch it via one of the flight tracking sites like flightradar24

Money talks. Or at least whispers in certain people's ears. Not sure that any other papers besides ODT covered this story. I wonder about public agencies like the Southern District Health Board being involved in something which looks very much like special arrangements for those who can afford it.

Curiouser and curiouser. It says the jet landed with 3 crew members on board, but left with only 2. Where is the 3rd crew member. Is he running around in New Zealand with Covid-19 infecting people?



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