Cancer treatment travel disrupted

An Air New Zealand Airbus A320 passes the Remarkables on its way to land at Queenstown airport...
An Air New Zealand Airbus A320 passes the Remarkables on its way to land at Queenstown airport last winter. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
A man whose wife needs to travel from Queenstown to Wellington for medical treatment has said Air New Zealand is being disingenuous.

The woman, who did not want to be named, was diagnosed with cancer last year and had had to put her treatment on hold due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

On April 2 Queenstown airport ceased to operate commercial flights for the foreseeable future.

The man’s wife was now booked for treatment in Wellington next week — but the couple would fly from Dunedin.

"Her long-term cancer survivability depends on getting an ongoing drug infusion," he said.

A Wednesday statement from the Ministry of Transport which said there was not enough demand to bring back domestic flights to Queenstown was "disingenuous", he said.

"That’s an asinine statement if ever there was one because how do you determine demand when there are no flights to book?"

The man said his criticism was entirely reserved for Air New Zealand, as opposed to the Government.

"Why should we as taxpayers bail out Air New Zealand if they’re not going to provide a service?"

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman confirmed there was not enough demand to operate flights out of every airport.

"We will be reviewing the domestic schedule for Alert Level 2 in due course."

Ministry of Transport manager economic regulation Tom Foster said decisions to restore flights to destinations such as Queenstown were to be made by airlines.

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