Aucklanders head to Queenstown

The return of community transmission of Covid-19 in New Zealand has not stopped dozens of Auckland holidaymakers from pouring into Queenstown Airport.

One couple said they were “conflicted” about whether they should still be going on holiday.

It was quiet at Auckland Airport, one woman said, after it was announced the city would go into Alert Level 3 lockdown.

"It felt like a ‘don’t mention it’ kind of a thing,” said the woman, who did not want to be named.

Airlines made it mandatory for passengers departing from Auckland to wear face masks.

Travellers on a flight from Auckland arrive at Queenstown Airport yesterday. PHOTO: HUGH COLLINS
Travellers on a flight from Auckland arrive at Queenstown Airport yesterday. PHOTO: HUGH COLLINS

Travelling with her partner, the woman said the pair never seriously considered cancelling a 10-day holiday in the resort.

“Our flight was before noon, so we were like, ‘if we can go, we should get out’.”

“We are not planning to go to any bars or anything like that.”

She said they would be happy to stay and isolate in Queenstown if the Auckland lockdown continued past three days.

"If the whole country goes into it, then we will have to stay longer."

Antony Ensor, who had also arrived on a flight from Auckland, said he and his partner had already had to cancel a holiday in May.

They were not worried about jetting off following the arrival of new restrictions.

“I guess we were a bit more worried about getting back home.”

Queenstown Airport chief executive Colin Keel said robust plans would ensure the airport could respond at short notice to changes in alert levels.

"We are working closely across the airport community, as we have throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, to ensure the appropriate protocols are in place and clearly communicated to the travelling public."

A cleaning and sanitisation programme at Queenstown Airport had increased in January and had continued since.

“Hand sanitiser stations are in place throughout the terminal.”

Invercargill Airport general manager Nigel Finnerty said seating had been adjusted at the terminal to reflect physical distancing requirements.

Signs had gone up reflecting the change to Alert Level 2 and cleaning of high-touch areas was intensive.

Dunedin Airport has increased cleaning at the terminal and 2m physical distancing is encouraged.

— Additional reporting Grant Miller

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