An Air New Zealand flight has just taken off from Auckland International Airport to repatriate citizens from Tonga who have remained in New Zealand since the COVID-19 lockdown.
Flight NZ970 is expected to arrive at Fua’amotu International Airport at 1:30pm local time.
It is the first Air New Zealand operated flight to transport passengers between New Zealand and Tonga since border restrictions were introduced.
All passengers on the repatriation flight were required to take a COVID-19 test four days before travel and carry proof of a negative result. On arrival in Tonga, all passengers will be required to enter a 14-day quarantine at locations nominated by the Government of Tonga.
Air New Zealand Senior Manager Pacific Islands Brent Roxburgh says the airline is happy to be supporting the Government of Tonga with the safe return of Tongan residents to their homeland.
“There are a large number of Tongan passport holders who have been in New Zealand for an extended period of time due to COVID-19 related border restrictions. Air New Zealand is pleased to be working closely with the Tongan government to help facilitate those wanting to return home.”