18 Sept 2022, Apia Samoa. Auckland bound passengers on NZ999 due to depart Apia at 8:20pm on Saturday night were made to sit inside the aircraft for over two hours while authorities argued over the fate of a Covid-19 positive patient.
The covid positive passenger was on the Auckland-Apia Air New Zealand flight that arrived into Samoa earlier in the evening. Samoa health authorites refused entry for the passenger and the issue reached an impasse that took over two hours to resolve.
“All the while, unbeknown to us, a covid positive passenger was on the flight with us! putting us all at risk..” one passenger told Samoa Global News.
“After two hours the pilot finally announced and told us the reason for the hold up..”
“He announced that someone came from NZ on this aircraft and was tested positive for covid. The Govt of Samoa wanted to send this person back to NZ on our flight but the pilot refused..”
“He also did mention that the person was sitting inside at the back among us, which I thought was unfairly putting us at risk.”
According to other disgruntled passenger who contacted SGN from inside the plane at around 10:30pm Saturday night, the flight finally departed after a passenger was seen being escorted off the plane.
“They put us all at risk without our knowledge, and when the passenger was escorted out, they brushed right past me sitting in the aisle..”
“We heard that the local health authorities are insisting the covid positive patient be returned to New Zealand on our flight.. and Air New Zealand are arguing against that…”
“For over two hours we sat on the plane ae fai figauga..”
One passenger told SGN that Air New Zealand were in contact with their lawyers. “All the while, we are made to sit in here waiting on the tarmac..”
It is not clear if the passenger was carrying a supervised covid negative test result, which is a requirement for Samoa.
One passenger told SGN they had travelled to Samoa from Auckland last month and the supervised test had cost them $600 NZD.
“Even that is ridiculous..
“By comparison, Fiji does not require a costly supervised negative test,” they added.