6 Apr 2020

Charter flight to bring stranded Kiwis home from Peru

6:42 pm on 6 April 2020

The government will charter a flight to get New Zealanders stranded in Peru home.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said travellers there had faced an extraordinarily difficult task in getting home, with no commercial flights and no transit options.

While the government had advised people to shelter in place if they could not get a commercial flight home, Peters said New Zealanders in Peru were finding it increasingly difficult to do this safely because of the situation there.

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The Government is chartering a flight to bring Kiwis stranded in Peru home. Photo: AFP

"This has been an incredibly complex operation and officials based at the New Zealand Embassy in Santiago and our team in Wellington have been working around the clock to make it happen," Peters said.

"We appreciate the constructive engagement we have had thus far with the Peruvian government and look forward to working with them over the coming days to bring our people home," Peters said.

"We are also grateful to the Chilean authorities for allowing the flight to make the necessary transit through Santiago."

The flight will depart from Lima, with an added domestic connection from Cusco, in Peru.

Private tour operators Viva Expeditions and Chimu Adventures will provide assistance to New Zealanders on the ground in Peru, helping transport New Zealanders to the appropriate pickup points.

Officials are working on remaining operational requirements, including the exact departure date.

New Zealanders in Peru who are registered on SafeTravel will be emailed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade with details of how to register interest in the flight. New Zealanders in Chile who are registered on SafeTravel will be emailed separately.

All passengers on the flight from Peru will be required to comply with health screening and have an isolation plan in place, on arrival, in line with Ministry of Health requirements.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) is continuing to provide support for the 22,000 New Zealanders who are registered as being overseas on Safe Travel.

"The Government is committed to helping New Zealanders overseas where it can. However, in these unprecedented times, Government-assisted departure flights cannot be relied upon to get home. Our message continues to be that where New Zealanders have the option of travelling commercially to get to New Zealand they should seriously pursue that, or shelter in place," Peters said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said another group is on its way home from Europe. Eleven travellers who were facing strict and extended lockdown in the Tyrol region of Austria have been able to get out, along with 20 Australians.

Ardern said there are three more New Zealanders in the area who wanted to get out as well and officials and diplomats would continue to help them.

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