Air New Zealand is suspending its Buenos Aires to Auckland route with “immediate effect”, following increased government restrictions for travel into Argentina.

The airline previously planned to temporarily suspend this service from March 30 until June 30, but is now cancelling the service earlier than it had planned.

Flight NZ31 departing Ministro Pistarini Airport at 2345 on March 18 was the airline’s final service until June 30.

The carrier changed the aircraft operating the service to the larger Boeing 777-300 aircraft, which has 30 extra seats than the 777-200 originally scheduled on this route.

Air New Zealand chief operational integrity and standards officer David Morgan said the suspension has been brought forward following additional border measures, which “pose significant crew logistics and operational challenges”.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation and we thank customers for their patience and understanding at this challenging time. Our teams are working through options for customers impacted by the earlier than planned suspension and will be in touch in coming days,” he added.

The airline said passengers should visit the travel alerts section of its website for the latest Covid-19 information and get in touch with the airline via its social media channels as its contact centre is operating at high volume.

Customers booked via a travel agent (including online travel agents) should contact their booking agent, the airline said.

The suspension follows Air New Zealand’s previous announcement that it would reduce its long-haul capacity by 85 per cent over the coming months, and will only “operate a minimal schedule to allow Kiwis to return home and to keep trade corridors with Asia and North America open”.

Coronavirus: Air New Zealand cuts more flights