LONDON – Following the cancellation of the majority of their flights yesterday due to severe conditions associated with Cyclone Gabrielle, Air New Zealand has attempted a planned restart of its services today.
Hoping for a lifting in the severity of weather conditions, the carrier had announced service resumption is for today and had begun the scheduled restart.
However, in an announcement just released, Air New Zealand has advised of further flight cancellations due to continuing bad weather.
Domestic and international jet operations started from mid-morning today but were then temporarily paused due to strong gusts at Auckland Airport.
The airline had intended to resume turboprop operations from mid-afternoon today, however continuing high winds have similarly hampered the planned restart of flights.
The New Zealand flag carrier has just issued a statement via its social media channels, advising that all of its international and domestic services out of its main hub at Auckland Airport have again been suspended.
Flights had been planned to resume today to all ports with the exception of New Plymouth, Napier and Gisborne.
Prior to the new grounding of flights, Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty had advised that 11 flights have been added to the domestic schedule to help with recovery efforts, with more planned.
“Our hearts go out to these affected regions who continue to be battered by Cyclone Gabrielle. We’ll get services back up to connect these regions as soon as possible.”
“We’re ready and waiting to support the national state of emergency response and are talking to affected communities on how we can help.”
“We’re also supporting our own people who are still badly affected by the terrible weather. We will continue to monitor the situation and support wherever we can.”
“Once again we thank our incredible customers for their patience and understanding as we work through the impacts of these major events.”
Yesterday’s flight disruptions
The airline says a total of 592 flights have been impacted due to the cyclone, with around 35,000 customers disrupted across our whole network.
Prior to the latest disruption to flights, Air New Zealand was working to rebook delayed passengers, saying:
“Urgent work is underway to rebook customers onto other flights – with around 1,500 international customers still to be rebooked,” the carrier advised in an earlier statement.
“This includes adding extra flights where possible to get our customers where they need to be as quickly as possible.”
“We’re looking at all available options, including adding larger planes, working with Star Alliance partners, converting cargo flights and adding additional services where possible. These aren’t easy to stand up but they’re the right thing to do.”
It is uncertain at this point just how long today’s suspension of international and domestic flight operations will continue.
This is a continuing story. Please check back for updates.