Christchurch earthquake full industry update

first_imgAs more news comes to hand we will continue to update this article.UPDATED 15:36: Value Tours have assured family and friends of visitors in New Zealand that it has touched base with guests travelling with the company and are making sure they are attended to.Value Tours general manager David Ovendale said its coach passengers in New Zealand and staff have all been accounted for and have been in contact with family and friends today. “We are being kept up to date by our suppliers on the ground, and we will continue to monitor the situation as we find out more,” Mr Ovendale concluded.Christchurch Airport is up and running with domestic flights resuming service at 8.00am NZ time today.An airport spokesperson said domestic flights have resumed operations but passengers should check with airlines for revised time tables before proceeding to the airport terminal.The spokesperson added that the airport will reopen international check in at 12.00pm NZ time today.New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said that up to 65 people have been confirmed dead since the earthquake that struck Christchurch yesterday, SBS reported.“We may be witnessing New Zealand’s darkest day,” PM Key said.“People are just sitting on the side of the road, their heads in their hands.“This is a community that is absolutely in agony.”The New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management has been called in to manage injuries and fatalities alongside emergency services in the Christchurch, Tourism New Zealand has informed.The 6.3 magnitude quake has also left mass damage around the city, with parts of buildings collapsed onto the streets.Among the damaged structures include the city’s oldest and famous attraction the Christchurch Cathedral which saw the church’s room implode. Other updates:IHG said in a statement that it had evacuated three of its hotels Crowne Plaza Christchurch, Holiday Inn City Centre Christchurch and Holiday Inn on Avon Christchurch after experiencing structural damage.The hotel group said while it completes a full damage assessment the hotel chains will remain closed.While Peppers Clearwater Resort in Christchurch said its staff and 105 guests are all safe after the resort suffered minor harm.Peppers Clearwater said it has working phones and has urged its guests to contact loved ones at home.  Tour company APT has confirmed that all its 88 passengers and three crew on its coach tours in Christchurch are safe and accounted for.The company added that it has diverted two tours that were expected to pass through Christchurch but has not cancelled any trip so far.Passengers on board buses due to arrive in Christchurch later this week will run on revised timetables.A Terminal Lake at Aoraki Mt Cook Village collapsed yesterday as two Glacier Explorer boats were travelling around the glaciers with passenger aboard.The tour group’s general manager said it was the first time a quake was felt in the area and fierce waves caused icebergs to start rolling in the lake.“We have procedures to deal with this type of event and for some time have stayed 800 metres away from the Terminal Face as we suspected it was becoming unstable,” he said.Qantas and Air New Zealand were forced to cancel flights yesterday but Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a statement today that the two airlines are organising extra flights to and from Christchurch today.Air New Zealand said in a statement that it is offering one way flights to and from Christchurch today for $50.Tickets can be purchased online or via Air New Zealand call centre.Adding extra capacity, the airline added that it will be using its Boeing 777-200 on a special flight from Christchurch to Auckland, departing at 3.50pm local time.Qantas said in a statement yesterday that the airline said in a statement that the carrier will waive refund fees for passengers with tickets issued prior to 22 February for travel dates between 22 February 2011 and 23 February 2011.As well Qantas has offered to waive rebooking fees on tickets issued prior to 22 February 2011 for travel between 22 February 2011 and 23 February 2011.Also forced to cancel flight was Jetstar, the airline expects to resume its domestic services from midday today.“We are focused on getting people back home and with family and friends and to play our part in rebuilding confidence and vital access for convenient air travel to and from Christchurch,” Jetstar chief executive David Hall said.“Our thoughts are with the people of Christchurch at this time.”Singapore Airlines said the carrier’s Christchurch office has closed until further notice and has urged people to redirect their enquiries to the Auckland office.However the airline has confirmed that it is rescheduling delayed flights which should resume today. The airline added that it will waive fees for refund, rebooking or re-routing from customers with tickets issued on or before 22 February for travel to and from Christchurch from 22 February to 6 March.Earlier today the Intrepid Foundation announced that they are making a donation of up to AU$10,000 to the New Zealand Red Cross Earthquake Appeal.The foundation group also said they would match staff donations to the appeal, dollar for dollar. Red Cross New Zealand set up the online credit card donation system for anyone interested in donating to the victims of the Christchurch earthquake.“Donate now for thousands of vulnerable people in New Zealand and overseas, the Red Cross is a sign of hope in crisis, meeting both immediate and longer term needs,” Red Cross New Zealand said in an online statement. “Your generosity means we can continue to help where the need is greatest.” People interested in donating can also send funds through via direct credit/online transfer.For more information visit: www.redcross.org.nz/donate Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more