13 May 2020

Repatriation flight bringing New Zealanders home from United Arab Emirates

7:28 pm on 13 May 2020

A special round-trip flight to bring home New Zealanders from the United Arab Emirates and then return with tonnes of export goods is due to land in Auckland tonight.

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

The passengers are being carried on an Etihad 787 Dreamliner. Photo: AFP

The Etihad Airways flight is carrying 19 New Zealand citizens and permanent residents and this is the airline's first visit to New Zealand skies.

The return flight will carry 35 tonnes of critical meat and fresh produce exports from New Zealand to the UAE.

New Zealand ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Matthew Hawkins said the UAE and New Zealand shared a strong relationship.

"Air and sea links provide New Zealand with critical connections to the Gulf region and indeed the world, making the UAE our 10th largest trade partner in the world. These connections remain important as we work together in response to Covid-19," he said.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/covid-19 *See all RNZ coverage of Covid-19]

The special flight was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the government of the United Arab Emirates and Etihad Airways with support from Auckland Airport.

The repatriated passengers will spend 14 days in managed isolation at government-provided facilities before they enter the community.

The Dreamliner was scheduled to land at 7pm tonight, and depart at 9pm.

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