Christchurch flights cancelled

Air New Zealand has cancelled all remaining regional turboprop flights out of Christchurch this evening, including to Dunedin, because of security issues, linked to the "shooting tragedy'' in Christchurch.

The airline has cancelled 17 regional services this evening "as it is not possible to screen customers and their baggage'', an Air New Zealand spokeswoman said.

Jet operations from Christchurch Airport would continue due to security screening processes in place.

Inbound regional and jet services to Christchurch would continue to operate.

Some regional aircraft would depart Christchurch to position to elsewhere on the network - with pilots and crew only onboard.

Air New Zealand apologised for the "inconvenience caused'', but the "safety of its customers and employees is paramount'', the spokeswoman said.

Two Air New Zealand flights from Christchurch to Dunedin, which had been due to arrive at 7.10pm and 7.30pm have been cancelled, as was an evening flight to Invercargill.

Dunedin flights to Christchurch due to depart at  7.35pm and 8pm were listed as "delayed'' and Dunedin Airport said on social media that all flights between Dunedin and Christchurch were cancelled.

Air New Zealand said customers who were booked to travel were asked to check the arrivals and departure page on the Air New Zealand website for their flight status.

Customers affected by cancellations still wanting to travel would be rebooked on the next available service.

Customers on cancelled services who no longer wish to travel could receive a refund or hold their fare in credit for up to 12 months.

The airline had now extended flexibility for customers booked to travel to or from Christchurch.  Customers booked to travel on Christchurch services any time until the end of the weekend now automatically had the option to change and rebook any tickets should they no be longer able to travel.

Any change fees and difference in fare for customers who need to rebook would be waived.

Call volumes were higher than usual as a result of this incident and impacted customers were advised not to call Air New Zealand today to advise of any changes to their travel plans.

Air New Zealand had also offered its support to emergency services managing the incident in Christchurch, she said.

The airline will waive any change fees and difference in fare should a customer need to make changes to travel booked for today.

Customers can call the airline's contact centre on 0800 737 000 at their convenience or contact the airline via private message on Facebook or Twitter to manage any immediate booking changes, she said. 

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