Repatriation flights from NZ to Samoa due next week

Repatriation flights from New Zealand to Samoa are to start a week later than initially scheduled.

Samoa's government has confirmed that passenger services from Auckland to Apia will now begin Friday 29 May.

It is the first in a series of five fortnightly flights to return nationals and residents, although more are expected.

This week's flight will go ahead but with cargo only.

Government data showed there were over a thousand people waiting to return to Samoa.

Beyond New Zealand, Samoa's foreign office said there were nationals across Australia, Asia, North America and neighbouring Pacific countries.

All those wishing to travel were being asked to register with the Samoa Consul-General in Auckland

The flights are operated by Air New Zealand which has flown a weekly cargo service since 24 April.

Discussions are underway for a similar weekly freight operation with Fiji Airways.