Charter flight offers Kiwis ticket out of S. America
Queenstown firm xtravel is chartering a Dreamliner to get Kiwis back from South America this month, the first direct flight from the region for six months.
The Latam flight will also carry South Americans, stranded here since March, back home.
Xtravel partner Tori Keating said the flight was the result of months of work with the airline and New Zealand authorities.
Up to 150 managed isolation and quarantine ( MIQ) places had been allocated to the returnees, many of whom were family groups.
“We’ve been really chuffed that the New Zealand Government has been so generous with MIQ,” she said.
The 787- 9 will fly between Santiago and Auckland, arriving on October 27.
Chartering an aircraft such as a Dreamliner could cost more than $ 250,000 each way.
Many of the Kiwis on board were farming in countries including Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia.
“People are saying New Zealand is safe and if I wanted to bring my kids up anywhere that’s where I want to be.” Kiwis in South America who want to come home now face a 60- hour marathon via Brazil and either Dubai or Doha to Auckland. Seats were limited and fares expensive.
Adult fares on the October 28 outbound repatriation flight from Auckland to Santiago for about 70 people cost $ 2200 and the inbound flights were $ 3059 for an adult seat.
The Dreamliner had 289 seats available and would be half full at most, passengers would wear face masks and families would be in their own bubbles.
Passengers must have the legal right to enter New Zealand and it is up to the passenger to ensure they have the correct documentation to show at check- in. Once ticketed, all fares become fully non- refundable and nontransferable.
Xtravel is also not responsible for passengers being denied boarding for failing to have the correct visa or exemption to enter New Zealand.