New Zealand will enter into reciprocal transit arrangements with a number of countries to make it easier for both citizens and foreigners to get home.

The rapid closure of borders and tightening travel restrictions, along with the resulting decline in commercial airline flights has left many travellers struggling to get home.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press briefing today: “A major barrier to New Zealanders getting back here at the moment is transit restrictions imposed by many countries. We in turn are seeing an increasing number of requests from foreign governments to allow their nationals to transit through Auckland.”

Air New Zealand, which has slashed 95% of its schedule and is operating almost entirely as a domestic and cargo airline, said it would study the new arrangements.

Chief revenue officer Cam Wallance posted on Twitter today: “Currently looking at the changes to the transit regulations and what impact it will have on [Air New Zealand’s Asia and America] services.”

New Zealand’s airports were closed to transiting passengers, except for Australian nationals, on 25 March.

The foreign ministry had said there would be strict criteria to those wishing to transit, including a requirement for passengers to remain airside with a connection time of less than 10 hours.