Letter asks Govt to allow safe air travel

New Zealand airlines and airports are putting pressure on the Government to allow "safe domestic air travel" when Covid-19 Alert Level 2 comes into effect.

A newly formed New Zealand Aviation Coalition, made up of New Zealand airports and airlines, sent an open letter last night to the Government.

It was signed by representatives of Air New Zealand Ltd, the Board of Airline Representatives NZ, New Zealand Airports Association, Wellington International Airport Ltd, Auckland International Airport Ltd, Christchurch International Airport Ltd and Queenstown Airport Corporation Ltd.

The coalition was concerned domestic travel would be "unnecessarily restricted" at Level 2, "causing permanent damage to regional businesses and harming economic recovery".

The Government has yet to announce the rules that will apply under Level 2.

The coalition said it was confident "safe and traceable domestic air travel" could be achieved.

Its letter said families needed to reconnect, businesses needed to operate, and regional economies relied on the stimulus of inter-regional travel.

"As we look ahead to Level 2, we have a changed health landscape.

"We have negligible community transmission.

"The major source of new cases — the international border — is effectively closed and any arrivals are required to quarantine.

"These are surely the settings by which New Zealand can allow safe domestic travel and safe domestic business."

The coalition said it was clear New Zealand had the health conditions and the capacity to allow both safe travel and safe business operations.

"Domestic travel must be encouraged as well as [be] allowable, so air services can be scaled, and customers can return.

"Without this, some regional airlines will almost certainly go under, air links won’t grow and New Zealand’s journey of recovery will be harder and longer."

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