Air New Zealand’s work in returning Samoan citizens to the island nation has taken a leap forward with the airline operating its first repatriation flight from Australia to the Pacific island.
The repatriation flight is Air NZ’s first outside NZ with flight NZ1960 departing Sydney for Apia.
The flight is carrying around 300 Samoan nationals and residents, many of whom have been stranded in Australia since the Covid-19 pandemic forced Australia to close their borders in March.
Air New Zealand said all passengers were required to meet the Samoan Government’s entry requirements and return a negative Covid-19 test prior to departure.
Air New Zealand’s Samoa country manager, Karen Gatt, says the airline is pleased to be supporting the Samoan government with the repatriation of residents from Australia.
“Air New Zealand has repatriated more than 2,000 Samoan nationals and residents from New Zealand since May and we are proud to help bring Samoan nationals and residents home during these uncertain times.
“We look forward to continuing to support the Samoan Government with repatriating their citizens in the future.”
The flight is expected to arrive into Faleolo Airport in Samoa around 8:00pm local time.