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Ben Lund, who has just turned 18, was playing for Brasiliis FC in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo and had played against some top Brazilian clubs.
He was booked to come home at Easter, but when his family was told Air New Zealand was axing flights from Buenos Aires at the end of this month, the tickets were changed to March 30. His family paid an extra$800 for a flexible fare.
Father Russell Lund said without notice Air NZ announced it was suspending its services earlier and he feels the national carrier has let them down.
Russell Lund scrambled to get a ticket on the plane, but on Thursday Air NZ announced it was suspending all flights from Buenos Aires. The last flight left Buenos Aires at 11.45pm (local time) on Wednesday.
Ben Lund was not on the flight, having booked for a later flight that had been axed by the airline.
Russell Lund was in Auckland on Thursday and went to the head office of Air NZ to seek answers.
An official told him the company was moving its assets out of the area.
The official said Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had given advice to Air NZ, which had led it to suspend flights.
But the National Business Review reported yesterday an Mfat official said no advice was given.
Mfat was working hard to get people back home from overseas territories.
Russell Lund said he felt Air NZ shortchanged him and the airline was not working in the interests of New Zealanders overseas.
He felt the airline was simply trying to make money from flying New Zealand citizens home and was more interested in looking after its aircraft.
In an emailed statement last night, Air NZ said the situation with Covid-19 was very fluid. The decision to bring forward the suspension of the service was made because additional border measures implemented by the Argentinian government posed significant crew logistics and operational challenges for the airline.
In the end, Russell Lund managed to get his so non board a Qantas flight leaving Buenos Aires yesterday bound for Christchurch, via Chile and Melbourne.
Russell Lund will go to Christchurch to pick up his son and is using a camper van to return to Dunedin so he could stay far enough away from his son.
He was scheduled to be back in Dunedin tomorrow.
Ben Lund, who left John McGlashan College last year, went for a trial at the Brazilian club in January and had been invited back to play for its under-23 team.
Whether he returns to the club depends on what happens with travel restrictions.