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New Zealanders have been left stranded in Australia after the New Zealand government asked airlines to manage bookings for flights entering the country in the next three weeks to ensure quarantine facilities were not overwhelmed.
On Thursday, there were no Air New Zealand flights available from Australian cities to New Zealand until late July, with some routes - including to Christchurch and Wellington - showing no flights until September.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the government was working with airlines to control the increasing flow of people wanting to return home to escape the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
“We have people showing up at airports, and by the time they close the doors that’s when we’ll get a heads up that we have an extra 100 people coming than we had planned for,” Ardern said earlier this week.
New South Wales recently capped its daily flight arrivals to 450, while Victoria has diverted all international flights from Melbourne Airport.
About 5500 people were booked to travel back with Air New Zealand over the next three weeks, mainly from Australia and the US, said Cam Wallace, the airline’s chief commercial and customer officer.
Air New Zealand has cancelled flights from Australia for next couple of weeks.CREDIT:BLOOMBERG
There was also high demand from people to come home from China and Hong Kong.
Wallace said some passengers would need to be moved to other flights due to the airline aligning daily arrivals with capacity available at managed isolation facilities.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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