22 Apr 2020

Air NZ to review quarantine exemption for international crews

From Checkpoint, 5:20 pm on 22 April 2020

Guidelines exempting Air New Zealand flight crew from a 14-day stand down following international flights are being reviewed and a further risk assessment is being carried out to see if more can be done to keep them safe. 

At the moment New Zealanders or permanent residents returning home from overseas must go into isolation or quarantine at a government managed facility for 14 days. Currently more than 2,400 people in those facilities or hotels, among them 97 people who are quarantined with symptoms.

On Tuesday Checkpoint revealed some Air NZ crew are worried the lack of stand-down between flights is putting them, their families and the public at risk, particularly after a flight attendant who later tested positive for Covid-19 attended a wedding in Bluff that has now become New Zealand's biggest coronavirus cluster.

That cluster and about 40 percent of all Covid-19 cases in the country are linked to overseas travel.

Just before Checkpoint went to air on Wednesday, Air NZ confirmed 30 employees have tested positive for Covid-19.

The Prime Minister was asked if she had concerns about those numbers on Wednesday afternoon.

Documents obtained by Checkpoint also show there's concern about Ministry of Health guidelines being broken by crew while on international layovers.

And this week Air NZ confirmed crew returning from Vancouver were forced to self-isolate after allegedly breaching protocols.

Air New Zealand says while 30 employees have tested positive for Covid-19, not all of them are cabin crew. 

Checkpoint invited Air NZ on the programme again it declined.

In a statement it said international air crew and airport staff, who are not showing any signs of Covid-19, will be tested for the virus this week.

Air NZ says of the 30 staff who have tested positive not all are crew and not all of them were infected through work.

Twenty-five have recovered and five are recovering from home. Air NZ says it has not had a positive case in the past 12 days.