Air New Zealand relaunches 24 international routes –


Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300ER takes a test flight after 600 days grounded because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Air New Zealand is set to relaunch 24 international routes, including some long-haul operations and routes to tropical islands, as the country gets prepared to open its border.

The Government has announced a five-step reopening plan that starts progressively in February. The national carrier has responded with plans to restart flying to popular destinations like Singapore, Hawaii, San Francisco, Houston, and Chicago.

The Auckland to Singapore route is the first big international restart, with flights set to resume on March 27.

Another long-haul route will be relaunched in April, with Auckland to San Francisco services set to return on April 14. By July, flights to Houston will return before flights to Chicago return on September 30.

Air New Zealand is set to relaunch 22 international routes.


Air New Zealand is set to relaunch 22 international routes.


* Boeing 777-300ER back from hibernation: Air New Zealand’s biggest aircraft returning to service

* Border reopening: What you need to know about overseas travel

* Covid-19: Fly at your own risk, and make sure you have a self-isolation plan

The new long-haul routes will operate alongside flights to Taipei, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo, Vancouver and Los Angeles – which are already operating.

Kiwis keen for a tropical holiday are also in for a treat. Flights from Auckland to Honolulu, Tahiti and New Caledonia will resume in July. Services from Wellington and Christchurch to Fiji will also resume that month. These flights will sit alongside Air New Zealand services to Rarotonga, Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji – which are already operating.

Across the Tasman, Air New Zealand is significantly scaling up operations, restarting 15 routes over the next five months.

That includes flights from Auckland to the Gold Coast restarting March 2, and Adelaide, Cairns, Hobart, Sunshine Coast in July.

The airline will also significantly increase international operations out of Wellington and Christchurch, which have been in hibernation for much of the past two years. Direct flights from Christchurch and Wellington to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will progressively restart from February 28.

The adventure capital of New Zealand is also in for a major boost. International Air New Zealand flights from Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne will return to Queenstown on June 24/25.

Air New Zealand’s Chief Customer and Sales Office, Leanne Geraghty, said extending the schedule and restarting routes is a big day for the airline.

“We’ve kept our operation ready for this. In the last few months, it’s been great to bring back some of our pilots, with some cabin crew returning to training from February 28, as we anticipate a return to global travel. We’re looking forward to welcoming the tens of thousands of Kiwis who will be making plans to board our aircraft soon.”

The new schedule follows the first of Air New Zealand’s largest jets returning to the air this week. On Tuesday, the national carrier flew its distinctive black 777-300ER on a proving flight, with its first cargo-only flight to Melbourne planned for Thursday, February 11.

A number of the airline’s other 777-300ER jets are currently stored in the United States, and some of them will progressively be brought back into service – while the smaller 777-200ERs won’t return.

The Government has announced a five-step border reopening plan, starting with Kiwis in Australia on 11.59pm on February 27, before extending to New Zealanders anywhere around the world on 11.59pm on March 13. In April, the net extends to visa holders and 5000 international students.

The country will open to tourists from more than 60 visa-waiver countries – such USA, UK and Japan – by July. The Government has indicated it may bring this date forward if it deems the move safe.

By October, normal visa processing would resume – which is the last step in the border reopening plan.

The big sticking point, however, is self-isolation. Travellers will need to get a negative PCR test to travel to New Zealand and will be given three rapid antigen tests on arrival to take home. Travellers will be required to isolate for seven to 10 days, depending on what stage the Omicron outbreak is in.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has, however, indicated self-isolation would eventually be phased out – although the timing is unknown – which has frustrated airlines and airports and some in the tourism sector.

The full restart schedule is below:


Auckland – Singapore, March 27

Auckland – San Francisco, April 14

Auckland – Seoul, July 7

Auckland – Chicago, September 30


Auckland – Honolulu, July 4

Auckland – Tahiti, July 6

Auckland – New Caledonia, July 6

Christchurch – Nadi, July 5

Wellington – Nadi, July 5


Auckland – Adelaide, July 6

Auckland – Cairns, July 5

Auckland – Hobart, July 7

Auckland – Gold Coast, March 2

Auckland – Sunshine Coast, July 9

Christchurch – Brisbane, February 28

Christchurch – Sydney, March 1

Christchurch – Melbourne, July 2

Christchurch – Gold Coast, July 3

Wellington – Brisbane, March 31

Wellington – Melbourne, April 4

Wellington – Sydney, April 5

Queenstown – Brisbane, June 24

Queenstown – Melbourne, June 24

Queenstown – Sydney, June 25