Air New Zealand is unable to resume quarantine-free flights between Christchurch and Australia.

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Air New Zealand says it is unable to resume quarantine-free flights from Christchurch due to operational issues.

The first quarantine-free flight, NZ103, which took off from Auckland for Sydney on 16 October.

File image. Photo: Supplied / Air New Zealand

Chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty said the Australian government regulations are that flight crew have to be in the South Island for 14 days before flying.

With its main crew group based in Auckland, that was not viable.

From November, Air New Zealand will operate two flights a week from Auckland to Sydney, ramping up to six flights a week in December.

Geraghty said that would enable Australians who had been stuck in New Zealand for the last few months to return home.

“While there is a great degree of uncertainty at the moment, we look forward to gaining clarity on when we can get customers back in the air and deliver our world-renowned customer service.”

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People in the South Island would be able to transit in Auckland to connect with those services.

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult said while it would be nice to have the option to fly to Australia, especially for those wanting to see family, he did not imagine there would be much uptake.

“They are not going to put on flights for half a dozen people, it just doesn’t make sense.”

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