New Zealand earthquake: update for travellers to Christchurch

Updated: 


Christchurch Airport remains closed for commercial air services until further notice, after a strong and devastating earthquake in New Zealand's second largest city claimed 65 lives, with up to 300 feared dead.

It was the second quake to hit the city in five months, and New Zealand's most deadly natural disaster for 80 years.

The 6.3 magnitude quake struck in the middle of the day, when streets, shops and offices were still packed with people.

The airport is open for emergency flights, but said in a tweet that it hopes to resume domestic services from 8am on Wednesday (NZDT).

Despite extensive damage in the city, a Christchurch airport spokesperson has said that "the terminal buildings and airport control tower remain intact."

All passengers due to catch flights to/from Christchurch should contact their airline and are being told not to travel to the airport.

But airlines are allowing customers to change their flights without paying a penalty fee.

Air New Zealand All is allowing customers to travel from any point on the domestic network to/from Christchurch for a special one-way fare of NZ $50. The fare applies for travel until 8am Friday morning (NZDT). These can be booked via the Air New Zealand website and call centre.

The flag carrier has also announced plans to fly a Boeing 747 service from Auckland to Christchurch at 10:30am on Wednesday (February 23) for a special NZ$50 fare, available at airnewzealand.co.nz or via their call centre.

Christchurch airport is providing regular updates on the travel situation on its website at christchurchairport.co.nz, which includes contact numbers of operating airlines.

British citizens in New Zealand can telephone the High Commission locally on 04 924 2898 for assistance.